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Preview: Bologna vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bologna vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's Serie A clash between Bologna and Napoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Napoli head into their meeting with Bologna on Monday evening looking for the victory that they require to keep in close proximity to the Serie A pacesetters.

While the visitors are unbeaten in their last two league fixtures, Bologna have suffered four defeats in five, leaving them well off the pace in the race for European qualification.

Match preview

At one stage this season, Napoli were showing everything required to remain a constant threat at the top of the Serie A table, but that has certainly not been the case since the start of November.

Just three wins have been recorded in 10 games, the latest coming last weekend as Napoli edged out Sampdoria by a 1-0 scoreline.

However, in their last 13 games in all competitions, Luciano Spalletti's team have failed to post back-to-back victories, with their most recent disappointment coming in the Coppa Italia.

To their credit, Napoli equalised versus Fiorentina when at a player disadvantage, but going down to nine men saw them capitulate to a 5-2 defeat in Naples.

With three favourable fixtures ahead of them, Spalletti is under significant pressure to deliver, particularly with the club behind them threatening to push them outside of the Champions League places.

Opponents Bologna have also enjoyed periods this season which has suggested at over-achievement, but Sinisa Mihajlovic's team have come back down to Earth over recent weeks.

While they recorded a terrific 3-0 victory at Sassuolo before the Christmas break, the other four fixtures have ended in defeat with nine goals being conceded in the process.

Mihajlovic would have expected Bologna to overcome a struggling Cagliari side in their first game back on January 11, but a lack of sharpness and fitness cost them as they succumbed to a late 2-1 setback.

Although they remain 11 points clear of the bottom three, I Rossoblu are now five points adrift of seventh-placed Roma ahead of Sunday fixtures, and it feels like they can ill-afford another setback on Monday night.

Bologna Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Napoli Serie A form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Napoli form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Aaron Hickey is expected to return at left wing-back for Bolonga after recovering from coronavirus.

Despite making just his second Serie A start of the campaign against Cagliari, youngster Luis Binks performed well and will hope to retain his place in the back three.

Gary Medel is among the players likely to remain absent through coronavirus, while Musa Barrow and Ibrahima Mbaye are away on international duty.

Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret is in line to deputise for David Ospina, who sustained an injury during the Coppa Italia tie with Fiorentina.

Manchester United loanee Axel Tuanzebe will likely have to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench, but Piotr Zielinski has tested positive for coronavirus.

Fabian Ruiz is pushing for a recall after two substitute appearances since the resumption.

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Bonifazi, Binks, Theate; Silvestri, Soriano, Dominguez, Svanberg, Hickey; Orsolini, Arnautovic

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Rui; Demme, Lobotka; Politano, Mertens, Elmas; Petagna

We say: Bologna 1-2 Napoli

With neither team in particularly good form, we feel that anything could happen in this contest. Nevertheless, given their superior quality in the final third, Napoli could edge this game by the odd goal in three having had to withstand pressure from their hosts.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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