Napoli and AS Roma face off in one of the biggest games in Serie A this weekend. Roma will have a chance to cut the gap between them and Carlo Ancelotti’s men, who are second in the table on 21 points after nine games.
The Giallorossi for their part are ranked seventh, alongside Fiorentina and Sassuolo on 14 points.
Where will the game be won and lost? Here are three keys that we think could determine where the match will be won or lost.
Carlo Ancelotti v Eusebio Di Francesco
Ancelotti has done an impressive job since being appointed as Napoli manager in the summer. He has practically picked up where now Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri left last season, at least as far as results are concerned. They still look the likeliest side to challenge Juventus for the Scudetto, while their form in the Champions League is seriously threatening the immediate future of Paris St. Germain or Liverpool in the competition.
Up against him in the opposite dugout will be Eusebio Di Francesco, who has had to endure rumours about his job in recent weeks. While Roma cannot be said to have had a poor season so far, it has been under par and any points dropped will only fan the flames of a perceived crisis further.
Lorenzo Insigne v Edin Džeko
Only Krzysztof Piątek of Genoa (nine) has scored more goals than Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne, who is only matched by Ciro Immobile of Lazio on six goals. If Napoli are to fight for honours this season, he is one of a number of players who are virtually indispensable. His importance to the team is highlighted by the fact that his team have won every single match that he has scored in in Serie A this season.
No one has been able to produce that kind of return for the visitors, but Edin Džeko undoubtedly remains to be the main man for Di Francesco up front. He will have to overcome the strong defending of Kalidou Koulibaly, but if he can do that, Roma will fancy their chances of stealing at least a point.
Impenetrable home fort v Woeful travellers
The marked difference between the two teams is in their current form, at the Stadio San Paolo for Napoli and on Roma’s travels. Napoli have won every one of their five matches at home this season and with the exception of their first game against Milan, they have not conceded a goal.
Roma have been woeful in their away matches this season, with only two wins out of six games on the road. That will be a massive hurdle for them to overcome if they are to upset Napoli.