Check out our analysis, team news, line-ups and see our prediction for this match.
After a season of feuds and failure of a top 4 spot, Naples start their 2021-22 campaign on Sunday, at home to get promoted Venice.
While the Partenopei hope to do better under new management, their Venetian guests return to Serie A after a 19-year absence after advancing through the playoffs last season.
Prediction for this match
As soon as the flammable Gennaro Gattuso Had reached boiling point in the middle of last season, there was only one result for the Calabrian coach in May, as the president of Naples Aurelio De Laurentiis gave him his marching orders.
After Gattuso had already left his next appointment with Fiorentina after only 23 days in office, a relatively calmer presence has been replaced in Napoli; an old hand in the shelter, Luciano Spalletti.
The former Udinese and Roma coach has directed nearly 500 Serie A games in his 27-year managerial career, and has only been since 1994 Francesco Guidolin and Carlo Ancelotti have stood on the sidelines several times in the top division.
Confirmation of Matteo PolitanoInter’s loan deal has been put aside for good, with no further spending at Stadio Maradona this summer after high spending last year Victor Osimhen brought to conduct the attack at considerable cost.
Nonetheless, most of the Azzurri’s most important men remain in Campania, and Spalletti has already led his new squad to six straight wins in the preseason – including an impressive 3-0 win at Bayern Munich and the 4-0 win at Pescara in the past week.
At the start of the 2021-22 season, Napoli can also draw further confidence from the fact that they have emerged victorious in each of their last four season openers and have won 26 of their last 29 league games against promoted players.
In fact, the club is unbeaten in the history books in 10 of its 12 Serie A games against Venezia; after winning their last encounter in the first division 4-0 in 1967 – the last encounter between the two in Serie B almost two decades ago.
After three bankruptcies in less than a decade – and several appearances in Calcio’s fourth division – Venezia is back at the top this season.
After fifth place and then through the playoff final against Cittadella – if only Riccardo Bocalon‘s goal in the 93rd minute sealed the victory at the legendary Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo – they now have to play their first three league games away from home.
Paolo ZanettiThe team celebrated their historic success in a boat parade through the city’s canals and the head coach has since been rewarded with a new contract until 2025.
With a stadium surrounded by a lagoon and a modest capacity of 7,400 – arguably the smallest in the league – his team is certainly set for the role of the charming underdog this year, but must hope that his ambitious recruiting strategy will pay off next spring. Surely a penalty shoot-out win against Frosinone in the first round of Coppa Italia last week will help bring in some new faces.
Incidentally, newly arrived defender Mattia Caldara – who made his competitive debut in this cup win – has only scored more than once in a single game in his entire career. A double pack in Naples in February 2017 was a good sign for the trip south this weekend.
At the start of their struggle to survive in the premier league, however, the Arancioneroverdi must not only defeat Napoli’s power at Maradona, but also a record of just one win in their 12 Serie A opening games – a 1-0 win over Inter as early as 1940.
See all team news
Before the first competitive game of the season, Napoli have concerns about the two record goal scorers Dries Mertens and full-back Faouzi Ghoulamwho trained separately this week while midfielders Diego Demme was excluded.
Mexico winger Hirving Lozano and first center-back Kostas Manolas will be available after recovery from injuries. Former Venezia coach Luciano Spalletti is expected to use a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation against his old club on Sunday.
Victor Osimhen will lead the way, with the support of Matteo Politano and Euro 2020 winner Lorenzo Insigneas Lozano is unlikely to be risked given the upcoming duel with Juventus.
Meanwhile, visitors have to incorporate some new names into the line-up that secured promotion three months ago – with Mattia Caldara, Dor Peretz and Tyrone Ebuehi to the likely starters in Naples.
Venezia will do without a goalkeeper Luca Lezzerini by injury while Mattia Aramu, Antonio Junior Vacca, Pasquale Mazzocchi and captain Marco Modolo are all paused because of a suspension.
In front, Francesco Forte could join by loan signing Arnor Sigurdsson and Norwegian winger Dennis Johnson, but David Okereke is another possible option for coach Paolo Zanetti.
Napoli possible starting line-up:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Lobotka, Ruiz; Politano, Zielinski, Insigne; Osimhen
Venezia possible starting line-up:
Maenpaa; Ebuhei, Caldara, Ceccaroni, Schnegg; Crnigoj, Peretz, Heymans; Sigurdsson, Forte, Johnsen
Probability: Naples 3-1 Venice
When last season was still in full swing, Napoli was practically unstoppable in the last third, so Victor Osimhen is now fully fit and ready to start a victory on Sunday.
Although Venezia is starting the season with great ambition, such a test task should be the first to surpass it – especially with a long list of absenteeism and an unfamiliar line-up.
Best betting tip for this match
Our experienced tipster partners at footpredictions.com predict a home win in this game. Click here to see more football predictions to see what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Home win: data