Napoli vs AS Roma, Preview: Prepare for madness

Gabriele Maltinti

Serie A's two most outlandish and plain exciting sides face off in Sunday's evening game. What could possibly go wrong?

This fixture hasn't ended in a goalless draw since 1995, and that probably won't change this time around, what with Zdeněk Zeman failing to coach basic defending and Napoli having sold their superstar defender Salvatore Aronica to Palermo (stop laughing at the back).

The form guide gives the visitors the advantage: AS Roma have won six of their last eight league games, climbing up the table and surprising people by not being the laughing stock of Italy in the process. Napoli, meanwhile, have won twice less in the same period, losing two of their last three, including losing their first - and indeed only - game at the Stadio San Paolo this season.

However, Napoli returned from a brief two game losing streak (a four game streak in all competitions) with a win against table-propping side Siena before the break, and host a Roma who have been more than a little hit-and-miss on the road this season, with five wins and four defeats.

Edinson Cavani seems to be back to his prolific best, netting eight times in his last seven games, and will obviously pose the greatest threat to the porous Roma defence. But, a Napoli back line which always seems prone to high-profile disasters could also struggle to hold firm against the league's most dangerous attack.

These sides are separated by just a place in the league, with the partenopei a couple of points above the giallorossi, occupying the last Europa League spot in the process. I hear that's Walter Mazzarri's favourite competition. There's much at stake.

Neither side have any injury woes, and if it wasn't for those pesky match-fixers Paolo Cannavaro, Gianluca Grava and Stefano Guberti only Roma's Marquinhos would be unvailable.

Napoli Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Paolo Cannavaro, Gianluca Grava (suspended)

Roma Injuries and Suspensions

Out: Stefano Guberti, Marquinhos (suspended)

Match Date/Time: Sunday 6th January 2013 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy

TV: Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), beIN Sport en Español (U.S.)

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