Coppa Italia Preview: Round of 16: Napoli v Udinese

Tuesday December 19th, 2017

Kickoff: 21:00/20:00 UK/ 15:00 ET @ Stadio San Paolo

Coming off a well-deserved victory against Torino over the weekend, Napoli host Udinese at the San Paolo Tuesday night for an exciting round of 16 Coppa Italia tie. Napoli will go into this match with tremendous confidence having regained top spot in the league but know that they will have their hands full with Massimo Oddo’s team.

Udinese are playing great football at the moment winning their last four matches with plenty of goals and handing Inter their first loss of the season. Fans should expect this matchup to produce many goals by both sides who are inform. However, the San Paolo has been a tough place to play for Udinese as they have not recorded a win in Naples since 2011, losing 6 of the 7 matches since then.

The Partenopei have won their last three meetings against Udinese. The Azzurri faithful might remember their last cup tie back in January 2015 that ended in a thriller with Napoli taking it 5-4 on penalty kicks.

This will be a heated battle that should see Napoli looking to progress and eventually challenge to win the trophy. Lorenzo Insigne’s return from injury will bolster the attacking trio and provide many offensive opportunities. Given Sarri’s lack of squad rotation in the past, it will remain to be seen if he finally opts to give the midfield a break and slot in Diawara or Zielinski.

Also, should Sarri rotate the squad, Cristian Maggio’s veteran experience and solid defensive play as of late could be another option to rest Hysaj. This match is the perfect opportunity for players, like Callejon, Allan and Hysaj, who have been logging heavy minutes to be rested. Moreover, we could finally see Giaccherini, Rog, or Ounas in the starting lineup as well.

On a side note, the San Paolo and fans across the globe can potentially witness an early Christmas present tomorrow evening. Marek Hamsik can surpass Maradona’s record at Napoli after his extraordinary accomplishment of equalizing the legend’s tally of 115 goals.

By Mark Manganiello 

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