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Napoli logo
Serie A | Gameweek 12
Nov 12, 2023 at 11.30am UK
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Empoli logo

0 - 1

Cajuste (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Kovalenko (90+1')
Cancellieri (78')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Napoli and Empoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After being held to a frustrating home draw in Europe, Napoli return to Serie A duty on Sunday, as they host struggling Empoli at Stadio Maradona.

In their final fixture before the upcoming international break, the Scudetto holders will aim to improve their patchy record in Naples this season and also keep in touch with Italy's top three.

Match preview

Napoli's Giacomo Raspadori celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on October 29, 2023© Reuters

Failing to win for a third consecutive home game in European competition, Napoli again came up short on Wednesday night, when they were unable to convert a one-goal half-time lead into three points against Champions League rookies Union Berlin.

Although in-form winger Matteo Politano put the Partenopei ahead before the break, a spirited Union side equalised early in the second half at Stadio Maradona, where the home team have toiled so far in a mixed 2023-24 campaign.

Napoli may be averaging an excellent 2.33 points per game in Serie A away matches this term, but that rate drops to just 1.4 on home soil, as the pressure of living up to last term's title heroics perhaps takes its toll on Rudi Garcia's side.

After a 2-0 defeat of Salernitana last week, the champions moved on to 21 points - some seven shy of leaders Inter. Since Serie A returned to 20 teams in 2004, only one club has gone on to win the Scudetto with such a tally or lower from the first 11 rounds: Juventus, eight years ago.

While Napoli are still strong favourites to join Real Madrid in progressing from Champions League Group C, they have proved unable to repeat their purple patch of this time last year and are yet to truly convince under Garcia.

Only Bayern Munich have averaged more shots per game than Napoli (18.6) across Europe's top five leagues this term, but the absence of star striker Victor Osimhen through injury has understandably affected the Campanian club's output.

Empoli coach Aurelio Andreazzoli reacts on September 24, 2023© Reuters

Having lost both matches 2-0 to Napoli last term, with Osimhen scoring the Partenopei's second at Stadio Castellani, Empoli will surely be glad that Serie A's reigning Capcannoniere must sit out Sunday's contest.

Since taking over from Paolo Zanetti earlier this season, veteran coach Aurelio Andreazzoli has failed to turn the Tuscan club's fortunes around, and after a 2-1 reverse at promoted Frosinone on Monday evening, they have lost eight of their 11 league games.

Empoli have never before suffered so many defeats at this stage of a Serie A season, and on every other occasion they have posted seven points or fewer after 11 rounds they have ultimately gone on to be relegated.

Entrenched in the drop zone, no team has netted fewer than the Azzurri's meagre tally of four goals - the most recent being Francesco Caputo's late strike at Frosinone, which ended up being little more than a consolation.

A shock 2-0 triumph at Fiorentina, in the Derby dell'Arno, remains one of just two victories in all competitions this season, and it would take an even bigger upset to turn over the champions on Neapolitan soil.

Napoli Serie A form:

Napoli form (all competitions):

Empoli Serie A form:

Team News

Napoli coach Rudi Garcia reacts on October 29, 2023© Reuters

As Victor Osimhen is still sidelined by a hamstring injury, having only just returned to Naples from Nigeria, Rudi Garcia must again choose between Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone to deputise up front on Sunday.

Raspadori should have the edge after scoring in his last two Serie A matches, though he has never netted in three consecutive league games; Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia would support the Italy forward in Napoli's attacking trident.

Although fellow centre-back Natan returns from a domestic suspension, Amir Rrahmani should partner Leo Ostigard at the back.

Empoli, meanwhile, have Youssef Maleh back from a ban, which may lead to a change of personnel in the visitors' midfield; Razvan Marin could drop to the bench.

Centre-back Sebastiano Luperto - who made his Serie A debut with Napoli in 2015 - is one of only 13 outfield players to have not missed a minute throughout the first 11 rounds of this season. Incidentally, captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo is the only man to have played every minute for the hosts.

Rising star Tommaso Baldanzi was only fit enough for a substitute role last week, but having now fully recovered will battle it out with Nicolo Cambiaghi to start.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Ostigard, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Elmas; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Berisha; Bereszynski, Ismajli, Luperto, Cacace; Fazzini, Grassi, Maleh; Cambiaghi, Cancellieri; Caputo

SM words green background

We say: Napoli 2-0 Empoli

None of the last nine Serie A meetings between these clubs have ended level - with six wins for Sunday's hosts and three for their Tuscan counterparts - and a draw is not the likeliest outcome on this occasion. Although Napoli have been short of their best on home turf, Empoli do not travel well and concede goals at an alarming rate on the road.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 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.Over 2.5:data

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Napoli's Victor Osimhen warms up in October 2023
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