Napoli, the defending Serie A (SA) champions, will look to end 2023 on a positive note despite a worrying run of three defeats in their last four league matches (1 win). The men of Walter Mazzarri have also failed to score in each of those defeats. In their last outing, the Partenopei lost 2-0 to AS Roma and had to let go of their European spots.
The home crowd at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona has also witnessed some poor performances from their team this season. The four home defeats in SA have already doubled the number of home defeats suffered last season when the team won the title. The players will therefore be desperate to repeat the result from last season in this fixture, a 4-0 thrashing of Monza.
But Monza got their revenge later in the season, winning 2-0 and inflicting Napoli one of their only four defeats of the campaign. At present, the form of both teams is similar, with Monza having lost three of their last four SA matches (1 win) and failing to score in their last two outings. The team has recently lost 3-0 and 1-0, respectively to AC Milan and Fiorentina.
The Biancorossi therefore find themselves in the bottom half of the table but are closer to the European spots than the relegation zone. This is therefore particularly encouraging. The men of Raffaele Palladino will now travel with the hope of heading in the right direction. However, with two wins, two draws and two defeats in their last six away matches, it is very difficult to predict their future despite their outsider status.
Players to watch: Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored a brace in this fixture last season. This has helped him win the 17 matches in which he has found the net for Napoli. Andrea Colpani, Monza’s top scorer this season, will be hoping to outshine him in the match. He has scored the first goal of his team in the last seven matches in which he has found the net.
Hot stat: There have been fewer than 1.5 goals in the first half in nine of Napoli’s last eleven matches.
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Jesus, Rrahmani, Rui; Anguissa, Cajuste, Zielinski; Raspadori, Simeone, Kvaratskhelia
Monza (3-4-2-1): Di Gregorio; D’Ambrosio, Caldirola, Izzo; Pereira, Gagliardini, Pessina, Ciurria; Colpani, Vignato; Mota
Prediction: Napoli 2-1 Monza
This match is likely to be a close affair, with both teams having their own problems to deal with. Napoli will be looking to get back to winning ways, while Monza will be hoping to end their losing streak. The Partenopei have a better home record than Monza, but the visitors have been more successful in recent away matches.
In the end, I think Napoli will just edge it. Kvaratskhelia will be a key player for the hosts, and I think he will score the winning goal.