Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti says the next game is always the most important as his side prepare to face Cagliari on Monday (Match Result – Cagliari 5/1, Draw 16/5, Napoli 8/15).
The Partenopei head to Sardinia at 18:00 knowing a win will see them draw level with AC Milan at the top of the Serie A standings, with Inter two behind and holding a game in hand.
With Spalletti’s men also set to face Barcelona in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday it could be a crucial week, however, the 62-year-old is refusing to look beyond Cagliari.
Gli Isolini are managed by former Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri and, after taking five points from the last nine available, a victory on Monday will move them out of the bottom three.
Napoli won September’s reverse fixture 2-0, but have a major doubt over the man who scored their second goal that day, Lorenzo Insigne, after he pulled up with a calf injury in training on Sunday.
With Victor Osimhen also not fully fit, Andrea Petagna and Dries Mertens are expected to start in attack, while Cagliari will be without Sebastian Walukiewicz, Nahitan Nandez, Marko Rog, Kevin Strootman and Damir Ceter.
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Despite the prospect of the game against Barcelona and other key fixtures on the horizon, Spalletti is refusing to look past Monday’s outing at the Unipol Domus.
“We’re now heading into the business part of the season,” Spalletti said in an interview with Radio Kiss Kiss. “There are 13 matches left and we have to take it game by game.
“We can’t make calculations or long-term projects. It’s clear that we want to win them all, but the course of a league campaign is made up of individual fixtures.
“Right now, the most important one is on Monday against Cagliari. It’s a very tricky game and on top of that, I don’t think we’ll have any of our injured players back yet.”
The other game in Serie A, kicking off at 20:0,0 sees 15th-placed Spezia head to Bologna, who sit two places and the same number of points ahead of their visitors (Match Result – Bologna 17/20, Draw 13/5, Spezia 10/3).
A Marko Arnautovic penalty made the difference in a 1-0 win for Bologna back in November and the Austrian is 9/2 to net the opener again.
There is also La Liga action as improving Celta Vigo host rock-bottom Levante at 20:00 (Match Result – 8/13, Draw 3/1, Levante 9/2).
Celta’s run of four unbeaten has lifted them into the top half of the table, but they face Los Granotes, who despite being 10 points from safety, beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in their last game.
Playmaker Brais Mendez has scored for the Galicians in the pair’s last two meetings, both 2-0 wins, and a repeat of that scoreline is 7/1.
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