Napoli vs Monza

These are tumultuous times for out-of-sorts Serie A holders Napoli as they can’t wait to put an end to 2023, with mid-table Monza arriving at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona this weekend.

Napoli’s Scudetto defense is dead in the water as we approach the halfway stage of 2023/24, with last weekend’s disastrous 2-0 defeat at Roma demoting them outside the European spots. Despite only recently returning to the bench to replace Rudi Garcia, under-fire manager Walter Mazzarri is already walking a tightrope after ‘I Partenopei’ lost three of their last four league outings without scoring (W1). Keen to close out a Scudetto-winning 2023 on a positive note, the reigning champions return to the Maradona Stadium without suspended forwards Matteo Politano and Victor Osimhen. It hardly makes for good reading, considering they’ve drawn a blank in four of their last six competitive matches, not to mention suffered a 2-0 loss in their most recent Serie A encounter against Monza.

If it’s any consolation for the heartbroken Napoli faithful, Monza’s recent form has been nothing short of disappointing. Three defeats across their last four Serie A games (W1) have condemned the visitors to stomach-wrenching life in the lower reaches. On top of that, they’ve failed to find the net in back-to-back league matches in the build-up to this trip, putting themselves at risk of recording three consecutive scoring blanks for the first time in their relatively short top-flight history. Monza fans can’t possibly fathom which version of Raffaele Palladino’s side they’ll get on a given day, considering their evenly-balanced six-game record on the road this season (W2, D2, L2). But since both those away wins came against bottom-half sides, they can get a clearer picture.

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