Lazio vs Napoli: Tactical Preview & Prediction

On 27.02.2022, Lazio will square off with Napoli in a monumental clash between third and sixth. With Fiorentina close behind the Romans, taking points from this fixture would be a significant accomplishment for Maurizio Sarri’s faltering squad.

Napoli’s Talented Starting XI

NAPLES, ITALY – OCTOBER 28: Lorenzo Insigne of SSC Napoli celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Bologna FC at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on October 28, 2021 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Linchpin Kalidou Koulibaly and Amir Rrahmani headline Napoli’s league-leading defense. The two are quality one-on-one defenders, with the Kosovan being more active, while his partner remains deeper.

In the midfield, exceptional creative ability combines with intelligent distribution. Fabian Ruiz is one of the best deep-lying playmakers in the league, and a rotating cast of midfielders play in front of the Spaniard. Elif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski are two of the high-profile names who roam the attacking third.

However, Napoli’s biggest strength is their three forwards. Victor Osimhen, Lorenzo Insigne and Matteo Politano are the usual starters, playing at the front of the 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. The trio bring a diverse skill set: Osimhen functions as a hold-up striker and target man with elite finishing, Insigne likes to cut into the middle and look to shoot or play through-balls, and Politano is a more traditional winger who plays wide. 

What Went Wrong for Lazio Against Napoli in November?

NAPLES, ITALY – NOVEMBER 28: Ciro Immobile of SS Lazio applauds the fans after the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and SS Lazio at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on November 28, 2021 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

When Lazio previously played Napoli in November, the Biancocelesti were in the worst defensive form imaginable. Against Udinese and their Neapolitan foes, Sarri’s side conceded eight goals in two matches.

In the 0-4 result, Hirving Lozano and Dries Mertens ran the show for Napoli. The Mexican, a like-for-like replacement for Politano, showcased his creativity on the wing, giving Elseid Hysaj a difficult time in defense. Mertens flaunted his finishing ability, scoring a brace and also completing 100% of his passes.

Defensively, protecting the backline proved a difficult task for Lazio. Danilo Cataldi was unable to defend against Napoli’s technical midfielders, who are adept at creating space in the attacking third. They like to work the ball toward the goal and find backpass options in space at the top of the box. The team’s exceptional long-range shooting ability makes this strategy feasible, and it means that opposing clubs must have a quality presence in the defensive midfield.

Lazio’s other problems stemmed from being unable to get Ciro Immobile the ball in dangerous areas. Napoli’s pair of centre-backs, Rrahmani and Koulibaly, effectively shut down the striker, allowing him just 26 touches in 90 minutes.

As both clubs had European matches on Thursday, this result could come down to whether either side deploys their starters. Unfortunately for Lazio, Luciano Spalletti’s Azzurri have a much deeper roster, and the result from the previous round bodes poorly for the hosts.

Prediction: Lazio 0-2 Napoli

Tags Amir Rrahmani Biancocelesti Dries Mertens Elif Elmas Elmas fabian ruiz Hirving Lozano Insigne Kalidou Koulibaly Koulibaly Lazio Napoli Lazio vs Napoli Lorenzo Insigne Lozano Luciano Spalletti matteo politano Maurizio Sarri Mertens Napoli vs Lazio Napoli-Lazio Osimhen Partenopei Piotr Zieliński Politano Rrahmani Ruiz Sarri Serie A Spalletti Stadio Olimpico Victor Osimhen Zieliński