Walter Mazzarri's side are running for the Scudetto and will aim for maximum points against Samp...Mission Scudetto
Napoli have won the Scudetto just twice in their history and last won the Italian championship in 1990. But this season the Partenopei could add one more to their trophy cabinet as under Walter Mazzarri they are on a full-throttle chase for the Serie A title.
Last weekend's 2-0 away win against Bari saw the Neapolitans remain just four points behind leaders Milan in second and sustain hopes of championship success. It was their third league match without defeat and fourth competitive fixture without suffering a loss.
However, in midweek Napoli's Coppa Italia hopes closed their eyes upon the light of this world as they went out of the quarter-finals to Inter but only on penalties. But that they could hold the Italian and European champions for 120 minutes after they had been dismissed 3-1 at San Siro at the start of the new year must have been encouraging to the Azzurri, and this will help them head into their encounter against Sampdoria with confidence.
No Ambition, No Worries
Sampdoria's season seems to be over. Placed in a comfortable, if modest, mid-table position, the Blucerchiati have little chance of breaking into the top six in Serie A and are way out of reach of the relegation octopus' tentacles.
In midweek Sampdoria's Coppa Italia adventure came to a halt as Domenico Di Carlo's side went down 2-1 to Milan in Genoa in the quarter-finals. Two quick goals from Brazil international forward Alexandre Pato led to the defeat of Samp and now they would have to keep on floating virtually aimlessly for the rest of the campaign.
With 27 points from 20 matches, Samp are eight points off a European place and as many above the relegation zone; they are placed perfectly in mid-table and one suspects that from now until the end of the season Di Carlo will try to consolidate this respectable position for the former Italian champions.
Grava, Vitale and Lavezzi are injured and will miss the visit of Sampdoria. Sosa will start alongside Hamsik behind Cavani in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
Semioli, Gastaldello, Lucchini, Pozzi and Dessena are unavailable for the trip to Naples as they are injured.
Maccarone and Macheda will commence in attack as the two centre-forwards in a 4-4-2 system.