Insigne: ‘Napoli steps forward’

Lorenzo Insigne is “proud to have scored the 100th club goal of my career” and admits Napoli made “important steps forward” by beating Roma.

His goal after 20 minutes proved enough for the 1-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico, meaning the Partenopei have a perfect record after eight rounds in Serie A and are five points clear of Juventus.

“I am proud to have scored the 100th club goal of my career and to have helped Napoli to win. I dedicate it to my wife, as she asked me to make the heart gesture for her tonight,” Insigne told Mediaset Premium.

“We’ve made important steps forward, as it’s a great result in a tough arena. We had to suffer for it, but from the goalkeeper to the 23rd man on the bench, we never give up.”

Napoli take on Premier League leaders Manchester City on Tuesday evening.

“We know Manchester City are a great side, so if I need to play as a full-back, I’ll do it! I just want to help my team to win.”

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Napoli eighth wonder at Roma

Lorenzo Insigne’s early strike proved enough, as Roma hit the woodwork twice, but Napoli conquered the Olimpico for an eighth straight win.

The Partenopei have made history by maintaining their perfect start to the season after eight rounds.

Insigne got the only goal of the game, making the most of a lucky ricochet off Daniele De Rossi to sweep past Alisson.

Roma poured forward in the second half, forcing Pepe Reina to fingertip a Federico Fazio header on to the upright and seeing Edin Dzeko hit the crossbar.

With this result and Juventus losing 2-1 to Lazio, Napoli go five points clear of the reigning champions and anxiously await Inter’s result at Milan tomorrow night.

Click here for the full match report.

See how this game and Juventus 1-2 Lazio unfolded on the Liveblog.

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Ones to watch in Week 8

It’s shaping up to be a monumental round in Serie A, as the top six all meet each other this weekend.

All three games are being played at different times, meaning you don’t have to miss a minute of the action, and Football Italia has put together a guide to what you should be looking out for in Week 8 of Serie A.

Derby showdown

The first Derby della Madonnina of the season takes place on Sunday night, and it looks set to be one of the biggest in years.

Both sides are now owned by Chinese conglomerates, but unlike April’s game this hasn’t been moved for coverage in the Far East.

Inter have started the season impressively, at least in terms of results, and currently lie just a point off leaders Napoli, level with champions Juventus.

Their city rivals, meanwhile, have struggled after their big summer spending spree and languish seven points behind the Nerazzurri.

Milan need to avoid a third defeat in a row, while a failure to win would dent Inter’s title hopes.

The Derby della Madonnina is once again a landmark Serie A fixture.

Can Lazio break their hoodoo?

Lazio were impressive in beating Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana, and after a strong start to the Serie A season some are even touting them as potential Scudetto winners.

Simone Inzaghi’s side are vibrant, entertaining, and deadly on the counter-attack – but the Aquile just don’t win in Turin.

Lazio haven’t beaten Juve on their own patch since 2003, and in truth have barely come close in recent years.

Max Allegri has lamented the Bianconeri’s lapses of concentration this season, and the Biancocelesti are just the kind of side who can take advantage.

Crowning the ‘anti-Juve’

Given their recent dominance, the Italian media has been searching for the past six seasons for the side which will give Juventus a serious challenge for their title.

Roma and Napoli have been the two sides most likely to be dubbed the ‘anti-Juve’ in recent years, and they finished second and third respectively last season, behind the Old Lady.

Saturday night sees Maurizio Sarri take his side to Rome, with a perfect seven wins out of seven so far.

Both sides will know the Juventus result before they step onto the pitch, and so this could well given an indication of who will be the biggest challenger.

Tactical warfare in Genoa

Marco Giampaolo of Sampdoria and Atalanta’s Gian Piero Gasperini are probably the most highly regarded Serie A Coaches outside of the top six, and they’ll face off on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides harbour European ambitions this season, with the Blucerchiati currently sitting two points above Gasperini’s men.

Giampaolo is seen by many as a potential top six Coach, while Gasp’s tactical battle with Jose Mourinho in 2008 was described by the Portuguese as the toughest he’s faced.

The fire sale derby

Fiorentina welcome Udinese to the Franchi this weekend, with both sides having been completely revolutionised since last season.

The Viola have seen Nikola Kalinic, Federico Bernardeschi, Borja Valero and Gonzalo Rodriguez – to name but a few – depart, as well as Coach Paulo Sousa.

Luigi Del Neri remains on the Udinese bench, but Bruno Fernandes, Panagiotis Kone, Molla Wague and Orestis Karnezis all headed for the exit this summer, as did Cyril Théréau, who moved to Florence.

As a result these will be two unfamiliar sides, perhaps even to each other.

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Roma: Strootman out, Karsdorp in

Kevin Strootman is out of Roma’s clash with Napoli in Serie A on Saturday, but Rick Karsdorp could make his Giallorossi debut.

Strootman has yet to recover from a thigh injury, which he picked up against Milan before the international break.

However, Karsdorp has finally been given the green light to begin his Roma career after overcoming a knee problem.

Joining the midfielder out of the encounter at the Olimpico is Patrik Schick, who is still suffering from a hamstring injury.

Roma squad for Napoli: Alisson, Lobont, Skorupski; Juan Jesus, Kolarov, Moreno, Fazio, Nura, Bruno Peres, Karsdorp, Manolas, Castan; Nainggolan, Pellegrini, De Rossi, Gonalons, Florenzi, Gerson

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EDF: Enough questions on Schick!

Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco has refused to answer any more questions on Patrik Schick ahead of Napoli. “It puts pressure on him…”

Schick has played just 15 minutes of football for Roma since his club-record arrival over the summer due to a hamstring injury, but Di Francesco made it clear he would not rush the former Sampdoria striker on his path to recovery.

“It’ll be a very important match, regardless of the outcome. The winners will gain confidence,” the Coach said a Press conference for Saturday’s clash.

“Against Sarri for the first time with a big team? Now you can see our work. Sarri’s doing an excellent job, which doesn’t surprise me.

“He’s enjoyed huge growth with the 4-3-3 and good readers [of the formation]. He’s done very well, regardless of the numbers.

“Two strikers? Mertens has become their lone striker thanks to his quality and their Coach, who has grown him into the role.

“He’d never played there before, he’s an unorthodox striker, who doesn’t offer a point of reference but moves around more.

“Edin has great presence in the box and also has great technique and movement.

“Strootman and Schick? Neither of the two will be called up. Strootman will be assessed for Chelsea and could recover in time.

“Enough questions about Schick, there isn’t enough time. It puts pressure on the lad, who wants to return quickly.

“I’ll put him on the pitch as soon as he’s able to play, not to make others happy but just for his own good.

“Who has more to lose? Those who lose will be affected psychologically, but there are so many games still to play.

“Performance will be crucial, the team that do the best defensively will pick up a good result.

“Teamwork is crucial. It’s to the team’s credit that they want to achieve something important.

“Can El Shaarawy be managed better in the national team? There were wrong assessments with him.

“We have a great relationship with the national team, so I hope it won’t happen again, I hope they show more care to those who are injured.

“The players also need to be more careful. It’s a shame, but there’s no use in arguing with them.

“I expect everyone to be more careful next time. For now, we’re thinking about getting him back.

“Napoli superior to Juve? Aesthetically without a doubt. They move around like a symphony. It’s not synonymous with results, good football can pay dividends but Juve have a winning mindset, which can make the difference.

“Napoli can be one of the favourites, but Juve will always be the team to beat.

“Will the League be won by the best defence? The best defence isn’t just about four players, although I agree the team that concede the least number of goals will be able to win the title.

“A team can also prevail by carrying out defensive duties in midfield, not just the last few yards.

“Nainggolan? He can play in any position, but he’s doing the best he can as a ‘mezz’ala’. I can’t answer tomorrow [about where he’ll play].”

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