Napoli travel to Sampdoria in their penultimate game of the Serie A season this Sunday with the pressure off as they have secured second place in Italy’s top division.
The Naples side have no injury or suspension concerns heading into this match but may take precautions as both Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne are one yellow card away from picking up a suspension.
Meanwhile, Sampdoria could theoretically finish as high as sixth so will have every motivation to finish their season on a high, with this game against Napoli and one more fixture against SPAL left to play.
Sampdoria fell to a 4-2 defeat at home to Napoli in an enthralling game back on 24 January 2016.
Napoli took the lead after just nine minutes, when Gonzalo Higuaín slammed home a right-footed shot from the centre of the box to give his side the lead. A further nine minutes passed before a penalty from Lorenzo Insigne doubled the visitors’ lead.
Sampdoria got back into the game on the stroke of half time, when Joaquin Correa fired the ball home to reduce the deficit.
The hosts crumbled when Mattia Cassani was shown a red card just before the hour mark and goals from Marek Hamšík and Dries Mertens – either side of a consolation from Éder – saw Napoli return home with all three points.
Matías Silvestre vs Dries Mertens
Belgium striker Dries Mertens will be looking to finish the season strongly for Napoli as he looks to secure his spot in the starting XI for Belgium ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer. He has scored 22 goals in 47 games across all competitions for Napoli this season.
However, he will face a stern test on Sunday against the experienced 33-year-old central defender Matías Silvestre. The Argentine centre back has over 300 appearances in Italian football and forms part of a solid Sampdoria back three.
Hosts Sampdoria only have one injury problem heading into this tie, as left back Nicola Murru is ruled out with a knee ligament injury.
Meanwhile, they have three players – Gianmarco Ferrari, Dennis Praet and Gianluca Caprari – all at risk of suspension after picking up four yellow cards each.
Napoli have no injuries or suspensions to contend with at all, although Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne also have four bookings each.
Predicted Sampdoria lineup: Viviano; Bereszyński, Silvestre, Andersen, Sala; Barreto, Torreira, Linetty; Praet; Quagliarella, Kownacki.
Predicted Napoli lineup: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Chiriches, Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Zielinski; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne.
Napoli may take their foot off the gas as they are guaranteed to finish in second place in the Serie A table.
However, Sampdoria could still achieve a sixth placed finish if all results go their way, meaning that the pressure could really be on in this game. It will be an interesting one to watch from a neutral perspective.
Prediction: Sampdoria 1-1 Napoli