Catania Vs Napoli: Time For Napoli To Overcome The Curse Of Catania

CATANIA, ITALY - OCTOBER 29: Gonzalo Bergessio (L) of Catania competes for the ball with Blerim Džemaili of Napoli during the Serie A match between Catania Calcio and SSC Napoli at Stadio Angelo Massimino on October 29, 2011 in Catania, Italy. (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)

Napoli have never won a match at Catania, yet Walter Mazzarri's side should be favored in their match on Sunday.

Napoli have started their season in tremendous fashion, winning their first three matches while continuing to display brilliant flashes of exciting play. Even more impressively, they trounced AIK by a score of 4-0 in their first Europa League match of the season. Edu Vargas scored a hat-trick, leading a side composed of almost entirely reserve players to demonstrate the new found depth of the partenopei.

Down in Sicily, things haven't quite gone to pieces as one might have predicted before the start of the season, what with Vincenzo Montella taking his exciting brand of football up to Florence. No, while that other team on the island might be crumpling, Catania remains at ease. They retained the majority of last season's squad, including Pablo Barrientos, Alejandro Gomez, and Gonzalo Bergessio.

That's not to say the rossazzurri aren't without their flaws. Their defence is still shaky, and if their front line is sluggish, they'll be easily beaten -- as acutely exhibited in their 2-0 loss to Fiorentina last week. The normally pacy Catania just couldn't be bothered, it seemed, and had no creativity to exhibit.

This week, however, they'll be at home and they'll be looking to make an impression, particularly considering the fact that Napoli have never won a match in Catania -- and have scored just four goals there. But this time, they're coming with fresh legs and some fresh faces. Lorenzo Insigne, relegated to the bench last week on Goran Pandev's return, scored his first goal in Serie A against Parma, and will be looking to prove his worth as a starter. But Pandev himself may prove hard to unsettle, looking confident playing just behind Edinson Cavani. Marek Hamsik, now out of the shadow of Ezequiel Lavezzi, looked nearly flawless last time out.

The last time the azzurri visited the island, they came away with a 3-0 win over Palermo. There's nothing to suggest the same can't be done against Catania, except my own ability to jinx a side by predicting a win.

Match Date/Time: Sunday, September 23, 3pm local, 9am ET

Venue: Stadio Angelo Massimino, Catania, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 3 (Italy)

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