Napoli aims to revive their Serie A title defense as they visit Atalanta BC, marking Walter Mazzarri’s second stint as manager against a team just one point behind them in the standings.
Napoli, trailing league leaders Inter Milan by 10 points – their widest gap this stage since 1994, has seen their title defense fall short compared to their impressive previous season.
Facing unconvincing performances, Rudi Garcia’s tenure ended with a disappointing home defeat to Empoli, prompting the return of Walter Mazzarri, known for his previous successes with Napoli.
Mazzarri’s comeback brings hope to Napoli’s current fourth-place position and their pursuit for Champions League qualification, as they have underperformed at home but remain more successful on the road.
In contrast, Atalanta, guided by Gian Piero Gasperini for a stable seven-year period, aims to reclaim a Champions League spot but endured a setback after a loss to Inter ended their unbeaten home record.
Atalanta’s defensive prowess at home might pose a challenge for Napoli, as they aim to avoid a winless streak against them since 2021.
For Napoli, key players like Victor Osimhen, Piotr Zielinski, and Alex Meret return to training, though Osimhen is unlikely to feature.
Mario Rui’s injury opens the door for Mathias Olivera at left-back.
Atalanta’s Gianluca Scamacca has been in form, but they might miss Charles De Ketelaere, while Giorgio Scalvini’s injury could add to their defensive concerns.
Midfielder Marten de Roon serves a suspension, and El Bilal Toure remains a long-term absentee.
Atalanta BC possible starting lineup:(3-4-2-1)
Toloi, Djimsiti, Kolasinac;
Hateboer, Ederson, Koopmeiners, Zappacosta;
Napoli possible starting lineup:(4-3-3)
Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Natan, Olivera;
Anguissa, Lobotka, Elmas;
Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
Prediction: Atalanta BC 1-1 Napoli
Napoli seeks an immediate uplift under Mazzarri’s return, aiming to break their winless streak against Atalanta.
Despite Atalanta’s strong home form, Napoli’s resurgence under new management might earn them a point against a resilient opponent.