It has been a tough start to the season for Rafael Benitez and his Napoli side, however after Thursday’s Europa League victory against Sparta Prague, the Partenopei will be hoping that they can kick-start their season with a win in Udine. The Zebrette will be aiming to prolong their opponents misery though, with Andrea Stramaccioni looking for a positive response after last weekend’s dismal display at the Juventus Stadium.
After winning their first match of the season against newly promoted Empoli, Udinese slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Turin last time out, making it all to easy for Juventus, something which they cannot afford to do at the Friuli tomorrow if they intend to add to their points tally. Stramaccioni is expected to change from a 3-5-2, to a 4-3-2-1 this weekend, which will see Pasquale, Bubnjic and Muriel all dropped from the starting lineup, in favour of Piris, Badu and Bruno Fernandes.
Napoli meanwhile, are aiming to calm the tension surrounding the San Paolo, after a shock defeat to Chievo in their last Serie A fixture led to them being lambasted by the local media. The pressure of playing at home has really affected the Partenopei recently and despite beating their Czech counterparts earlier this week in Naples, the players might feel less anxious away from home in Friuli-Venezia Giulia this weekend. Benitez is set to only make two changes from the side that beat Sparta Prague in midweek, with the two full-backs, Henrique and Britos, being replaced by Maggio and Zuniga.
Probable Lineup Udinese (4-3-2-1): Karnezis; Widmer, Heurtaux, Danilo, Piris; Badu, Guilherme, Allan; Kone, Bruno Fernandes; Di Natale
Battles: Badu 70% – 30% Pinzi, Piris 70% – 30% Pasquale
Injuries: Gabriel Silva, Scuffet, Domizzi, Riera, Wague
Probable Lineup Napoli (4-2-3-1): Rafael; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Zuniga; Inler, Gargano; Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens; Higuain
Battles: Maggio 60% – 40% Henrique, Mertens 60% – 40% Insigne, Gargano 60% – 40% De Guzman, Callejon 60% – 40% Insigne
Injuries: Ghoulam, Jorginho
Udinese Form: W-W-L
Napoli Form: D-L-W-L-W
Last Season: Udinese 1-1 Napoli