Napoli’s pursuit of a first Serie A title since 1989-90 will continue when they welcome Sampdoria to the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts will be desperate to prevent both Inter and AC Milan from pulling away at the top of the Serie A table.
Having led away to Juventus in midweek, Napoli were left disappointed after a second-half Old Lady comeback denied the visitors a memorable victory.
It would have been the Azzurri’s first win away to Juventus since a 2-0 victory in the Coppa Italia during 2011-12 campaign.
Instead, Luciano Spalletti’s side were forced to settle for a point, meaning they now start the weekend a concerning six points behind leaders Inter, who boast a game in hand.
Having led the way at the top of Serie A up until the beginning of December, a run of disappointing results in the build up to Christmas saw Napoli slip down the table.
None more so than the 1-0 defeat at home to Spezia in the final match before the winter break, coupled with Thursday’s Juventus result, means that Napoli boast just one win in their last six Serie A outings.
Looking to extend that run to one win from seven will be Sampdoria, who begin the new year with the threat of relegation looming over their head.
It is 10 years since Sampdoria last competed in Serie B, and while they may currently sit a comfortable-enough seven points above the drop zone, a shaky run of form to finish the year has left them fearing the worst.
Winners of just one of their last five Serie A outings, shipping goals has often been an issue for Sampdoria at times this season, with no side above them in the table having conceded more.
That record could worsen come the end of the weekend as Napoli have often enjoyed the upper-hand over Sampdoria in recent years, winning the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
That triumph stretched Napoli’s winning run to six matches against Sunday’s opponents, while their last defeat at the hands of Sampdoria came in September 2018.
Napoli Serie A form:
Napoli form (all competitions):
Sampdoria Serie A form:
Sampdoria form (all competitions):
We say: Napoli 2-0 Sampdoria
After a blistering start to the campaign, Napoli have tailed off in trademark fashion, with a title challenge slipping out of their grasp.
If they wish to lift the Scudetto come the end of the season, it is victories against mid-table outfits like Sampdoria that they need to win, with Napoli likely to get the job done on Sunday.