Preview: Fiorentina vs Napoli

Vincenzo Italiano will probably take charge of his last home game as Fiorentina manager as they host Napoli in Serie A on Friday.

There’s still more to gain than to lose for Fiorentina in their remaining games of the season, including the one against Napoli. For starters, they still have three games left to play and have a chance to finish in the Europa League spots. Lazio currently occupy seventh place, which will ensure the last Europa League spot for next season.

With six points separating La Viola from Lazio, and given they still have three more games, automatic Europa League qualification is still a possibility. Vincenzo Italiano would love the idea of chasing down Lazio. Still, he might also want to bow out of Fiorentina by winning the UEFA Europa Conference League final in Athens later this month.

That game could be his penultimate clash as Fiorentina boss, and now the one against Napoli will probably be his last one at home. Hence, Italiano wants to finish the season on a high and will aim for a win that will boost Viola’s hopes of finishing as high as possible on the table.

Meanwhile, things are not so good over at Napoli, who continued their winless streak, which now extends to five games. In that period, the dethroned champions have accumulated only three points out of a possible fifteen, which put them out of any sort of European contention.

Bologna met them on the most recent matchday and secured a 2-0 win to confirm their UEFA Champions League spot for next season. There is a tiny hope of making it to the Europa Conference League for next season if Napoli can beat Fiorentina away and then also make sure they win their last game of the season.

Given Italy’s five Champions League spots, the last European spot is now eighth place, where Napoli can still finish with the right results. However, a defeat at the hands of Fiorentina will all but end any remaining hopes, as Napoli will want the season ended as soon as possible.

Team News & Tactics

Fiorentina

Fiorentina do not have any fresh problems after their victory over AC Monza. They will miss Riccardo Sottil, who will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing an operation to treat a collarbone fracture suffered during the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final.

Despite the attacker’s absence, Vincenzo Italiano might not make any unnecessary alterations to the side that beat Monza, meaning the Fiorentina boss might start an unchanged lineup against Napoli at home.

That means that neither Jonathan Ikone nor Andrea Belotti might find a place in the starting team, despite Italiano suggesting both will be involved in some capacity. M’Bala Nzola will lead the line for Fiorentina with the support of Nicolas Gonzalez and Gaetano Castrovilli in support from the wide areas.

Napoli

There are a few injury-related doubts for Napoli ahead of this visit to Florence. Chief among those is the possible absence of star striker Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian did play the full 90 minutes against Bologna but has been complaining about a knee issue that has plagued him for most parts this season.

There are chances Napoli may not take the risk of aggravating that problem by playing him against Fiorentina, and the chances of him missing out completely are high. Should the Nigerian not play, Giovanni Simeone could feel he should get the chance to take his place. But Giacomo Raspadori might get the nod ahead of the Argentine.

There are further absentees: Piotr Zielinski, who might have already played his last game for the club, and Jesper Lindstrom, who will also miss out despite resuming individual training this week. In any case, the latter only has about two starts to his name in the league this season, and had he turned up fit, the chances of a bench role were quite high.

Key Stats

  • Fiorentina have scored and conceded in each of their last seven home games in Serie A.
  • Fiorentina last kept a clean sheet at home in December 2023 in Serie A.
  • Napoli are winless in their last five league games.
  • Napoli have collected only three points from their last five league games.

Player to Watch

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

The Georgian will reflect on his sub-par season before the summer and will have some questions regarding his performances and that of the team. He will surely take the criticism of a dramatic fall from grace for Napoli, especially after the highs of last season.

However, there is still a minor chance at redemption, with Napoli still in with an opportunity to finish in the last European places. A good performance against Fiorentina might set him up for an excellent end to the campaign, with Kvaratskhelia wanting to perform at his very best.

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