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Atalanta vs. Napoli: Prediction, team news, and analysis



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Not only have Napoli revived their Serie A campaign by collecting 15 points from the last 15 on offer, they also beat Juventus on penalties two weeks ago to win the Coppa Italia.
Having ended their six-year wait for silverware, and made certain on a place in next year’s Europa League in the process, the Partenopei now have two more targets to achieve.
One of those is progressing past Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, with that tie locked at 1-1 ahead of August’s rearranged second leg.
The more immediate priority, however, is to overtake Thursday’s opponents Atalanta in fourth position to ensure a place at UEFA’s top table in 2020-21.
That may be too big an ask for Gennaro Gattuso, though, as La Dea are 12 points better off in the final Champions League qualification spot with 10 games to go.
It goes without saying, then, that three points are a must for Napoli in midweek if they are to have any realistic hope of keeping their Serie A campaign alive.
Back-to-back wins over Hellas Verona and SPAL since resuming their league season – and not least lifting the Coppa Italia – ensures that Gattuso’s men have momentum on their side.
However, Atalanta are the one top-flight club in even better form than Napoli, having won nine and drawn one of their last 10 matches since the middle of January.
That is a run that has seen Atalanta book a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and move nine points clear of the chasing pack in the race for fourth in Serie A.
Since returning to action in mid-June, Gian Piero Gasperini’s side have cruised past Sassuolo and battled to narrow wins against Lazio and Udinese.
They have scored 40 league goals on home soil this season, more than in any other top-flight campaign, and are arguably the most entertaining side to watch in Europe’s top leagues.
Being a good side to watch only gets you so far, of course, but Gasperini’s men also know how to pick up wins and three more points here will see them effectively sew up fourth.
Ruslan Malinovskiy picked up another booking against Udinese and will serve an automatic suspension, meaning that Gasperini will have to rotate up top.
Josip Ilicic, who has 15 goals and five assists in Serie A this term, is the strong favourite to come into the side.
Robin Gosens and Jose Luis Palomino are also pushing for recalls, as is Marten de Roon in holding midfield.
As for Napoli, Kevin Malcuit remains their only injury absentee so Gattuso can name an unchanged lineup should he wish.
Hirving Lozano and Arkadiusz Milik will be hoping that is not the case, having been named among the subs for the win over SPAL.
Dries Mertens has been directly involved in four of Napoli’s last eight goals against Atalanta, meanwhile, scoring three and providing one assist.
Prediction: Atalanta 3-2 Napoli
Both teams have hit the ground running since the restart and have plenty left to play for on multiple fronts this season. Atalanta have lost their last two home league meetings with Napoli, but they look unstoppable on current form and we are backing them to edge this one.

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