Napoli have firmly established themselves as title contenders this season, though recent news that key striker Victor Osimhen has been ruled out for several weeks with facial injuries sustained in their loss to Internazionale is a major blow.
“Everybody will have problems with injuries,” said Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti. “Right now, it would have been good to have some more players, but the team’s depth is adequate. [Faouzi] Ghoulam is coming back, [Alessandro] Zanoli and [Kevin] Malcuit are improving, this is just a temporary situation.”
Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini, meanwhile, is hoping for greater consistency from his attack-minded side, especially for big clashes such as this one away to the Neapolitans.
“We could have done better in some parts of the game, we played well but lost control sometimes,” he said after last weekend’s action in charge of La Dea (The Goddess). “Napoli have shown that they are a great team this season… we will respect them, but show no fear.”
Lorenzo Insigne – The creative spark for Napoli’s attacking play, Insigne loves cutting inside off the left flank to link play or unleash long-range shots. If the diminutive attacker is on top of his game, Atalanta’s defence could be in for a long night.
Josip Ilicic – Atalanta’s mercurial Slovenian had a slow start to the season, but in recent weeks he has regained the sharpness of touch and thought that makes him one of the most dangerous attackers in Serie A.
In head-to-head stats, Napoli and Atalanta have met in 46 matches across all competitions dating back as far as 1993. Both the Neapolitans and La Dea have claimed 16 wins apiece, while 14 games have been drawn.
The teams’ two Serie A clashes last season produced a 4-1 home win for Napoli in October 2020 and a 4-2 victory for Atalanta in Bergamo in the return game in February of this year.
Battles to watch
Luciano Spalletti v Gian Piero Gasperini – Two managers who err on the side of attack and demand a high intensity from their players. Spalletti will hope his team’s quick passing takes the day, while Gasperini’s overloading of the flanks is a key element to watch for.
Kalidou Koulibaly v Duvan Zapata – The Senegal centre-back continues to be one of Europe’s finest defenders, but he will face a relentless opponent in Duvan Zapata, a Colombian striker who blends strength, stamina and guile.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa v Mario Pasalic – Napoli’s Cameroonian recruit in central midfield has been one of their driving forces this season, and his battle with Croatian Mario Pasalic will determine which team holds sway in the ‘engine room’.
SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv can look forward to a classic Serie A rivalry, as Napoli welcome Atalanta to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on the evening of Saturday 4 December 2021.
DStv and GOtv is the only true home of football in Africa, offering a range and depth of action that no other rival can match – it’s literally ‘Unbeatable Football’! If you’re going to spend your money on something, it may as well be on the best football in the world.
Match broadcast details
All times CAT
Saturday 4 December
21:45: Napoli v Atalanta – LIVE on SuperSport Football, SuperSport Maximo 360 and SuperSport GOtv Select 1