Roma-Napoli had the right combination of magnitude coming in and action on the field and therefore easily gets the choice this week.
The Giallorossi approached the tilt looking to build on their two recent wins over Milan and Udinese and to continue climbing in the standings, while Napoli had prevailed just once in the last four, sharing the spoils three times and therefore losing ground.
Paulo Fonseca confirmed most of what has been his go-to XI, replacing the suspended Federico Fazio with Mert Cetin in the back, thus keeping Gianluca Mancini in the midfield, next to Jordan Veretout. Leonardo Spinazzola again started over Alessandro Florenzi at right back. Carlo Ancelotti could not count on the injured Allan and fielded his best XI, with Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski manning the midfield, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui on the defensive flanks and Arkadiusz Milik and Dries Mertens up front.
José Callejon and Justin Kluivert had the first two attempts of the contest from distance, one cradled by Pau Lopez and then other going just wide. The first turning point came at the 19th minute, as Spinazzola barrelled down the right flank, found the training Nicolò Zaniolo and the starlet blasted it in the top corner from just inside the box.
Minutes later, Alex Meret prevented things from unravelling palming away a cross-shot by Aleksandar Kolarov and more importantly denying the Serbian veteran from the penalty spot with a superb save, as the referee punished Callejon for a handball while trying to settle the ball.
The Partenopei were re-energized and almost scored with a header by Di Lorenzo on a long free kick, but Chris Smalling cleared it on the goal-line. They began peppering the goal and came close with strong mid-range efforts by Milik and Lorenzo Insigne, but Lopez brilliantly rejected him. The woodwork instead stopped them twice right before half time, as the Polish striker rattled the crossbar with a close-range header and Zielinski smacked the base of the post from outside the box on the rebound.
Roma were awarded another penalty for a handball at the 55th minute and this time it was Veretout who stepped up to the plate, knocking it past Meret even tough the goalie touched it. Kluivert hit the crossbar on a counter moments later. After a short stoppage because the referee heard discriminatory chants against Neapolitans, the Azzurri cut the lead in half thanks to an energetic run by Hirving Lozano, who had subbed in for Callejon and perfectly set up Milik for a tap-in.
Veretout and Zielinski again tried to find the mark, this time with daisy-cutter, but to no avail. The guests had the final chance at the buzzer, as Cetin brought down Fernando Llorente just outside the box, earning his second yellow card, but Milik was unable to send his free kick over the wall.
Roma leapfrogged Atalanta with their third win in a row and are now in third position, one point over Lazio. Napoli instead fell to seventh, surpassed even by Cagliari.
In the fantasy game, the scorers Zaniolo and Veretout grabbed four points, Milik three because he was booked, Lozano two for the assist, while Spinazzola one because he got a yellow card after providing a helper.
Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? If you’re up for it play www.fantasyseriea.com now!