If confirmation of Napoli’s potential to hurt Antonio Conte’s league leaders on Sunday was required, then the fact that their current points tally of 61 is the highest the club have ever had at this stage of a Serie A season is it.
Although the Partenopei have now won only one of the last five home games, their form has been relatively stable between home and away overall in the league: they have a record of nine wins, four draws and two defeats at the Stadio San Paolo, picking up just one more point in front of their home public than on the road.
Recently it has been a mixed bag for Rafa Benitez’s men. While Jose Callejon helped them to an important 1-0 win over Roma (currently one place above them in second) on 9 March, on the other hand they were defeated by the same scoreline in their most recent home match by Fiorentina. What’s more, they were also recently put out of the Europa League by Porto.
Napoli now have a goal difference of +25, some way lower than the +41 of second-placed Roma and +47 of Juventus, but they approach Sunday’s game in high spirits off the back of victory over Catania.
Last match: Catania 2-4 Napoli, 26 March
Although bottom-placed Catania made a resurgence in the second half at the ground where Juve triumphed thanks to Carlos Tevez’s winner two weeks ago, Napoli eventually had enough quality to see the Rossoblu off.
The first goal was a simple tap-in up into the roof of the net from Duvan Zapata, who couldn’t have been presented with a better opportunity to score his first ever Serie A goal.
The second was well-worked, Lorenzo Insigne setting up Callejon with the outside of his boot for what turned out to be another tap-in as confusion between Mariano Andujar and the Rossoblu defence sent him clean through.
After that, January signing Henrique netted with a stunning strike volleyed home from the far right side of the area.
And it was four before the half-time whistle blew, Zapata netting a calm second. Napoli had now scored as many goals in the first half as they had done in all 12 previous Serie A away trips to Catania.
In the second, the Rossoblu came back to reduce the deficit to two thanks to Luciano Monzon and Norbert Gyomber, but catching up ultimately proved a step too far.