Roma host league-leaders Napoli on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico as Roma boss Jose Mourinho looks to dent his opponent’s title charge. The fixture is yet another top of the table clash in what is proving to be an enthralling title race in Serie A.
The two sides are separated by just four points, with Napoli leading the way in Serie A, three places ahead of their weekend’s opposition Roma.
Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli side have quickly developed into one of, if not the most exciting side in European football this campaign, remaining unbeaten in their opening 14 games across all competitions.
Despite the departure of key player Fabian Ruiz to PSG in the summer, the Azzurri have not faltered in attack, scoring 42 goals so far this season at an average of three goals per game.
Victor Osimhen, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Matteo Politano, Giacomo Raspadori and Giovanni Simeone have all vastly contributed to what is one of the most exciting attacks on the continent, with only Bayern Munich and Man City scoring more across Europe’s top 5 leagues.
Napoli are in good shape to maintain their title push till the end of the season, as Spalletti aims to make history by becoming the oldest manager to win the Scudetto. Should the Azzurri hold on to top spot, the coach would accomplish the feat at the age of 64, beating current Lazio boss Maurizio Sarri who achieved it aged 61 with Juventus in 2020.
However, if there is a man that has a history of stopping top teams, it’s Jose Mourinho.
The Roma manager made history last season, winning the Club’s first ever piece of European silverware when they lifted the inaugural UEFA Conference League, the third different continental trophy lifted by Mourinho.
The Giallorossi have had a strong start to the season, winning seven of their first ten league games. The Club has seemingly increased expectation off the back of last season, as Roma push for their first top four finish since 2018.
Mourinho spoke in his pre-match press conference about his awareness of Napoli’s quality. However, the Portuguese coach also stated that his opposition are also capable of losing.
“It is a general opinion that Napoli are the favourites, but at times the side that is the favourite also loses. We have the right to play our game,” said Mourinho ahead of the game.
“Spalletti knows that he could lose and that is not a bluff. He also knows his team is at the top of the table and in great shape, but that it won’t be easy. We both know it’s going to be a difficult match.”
The former Chelsea boss then brushed off the suggestion that the fixture will be a clash of two different styles, implying Mourinho’s side are much more defensively-inclined as opposed to Napoli, who play all-out attack.
“If you look at the statistics for goals scored, yes, but not the chances created. We are the eighth best strike force in Serie A not because we are defensive, but because we make too many mistakes in front of goal. It can also be a matter of luck, as sometimes the ball goes in off your knee, your shoulder, your butt!
“We had 20 attempts on goal against Atalanta and then lost to a side that had only one shot. Napoli scored many goals, defend well and we’ll try to see what we can achieve.”
Roma 1 – 3 Napoli
Napoli’s attack will prove too much for Roma to handle. Considering both defences have conceded the same amount of league goals, it’s almost certain that the game will be decided by the front lines. And with Napoli’s options on top form, while Roma are missing key attackers such as Paulo Dybala, the points may end up heading back to Naples.