Napoli beat Fiorentina 3-0 last weekend to claim their first win in six games but are seven points behind Roma with the prospect of Champions League qualification rapidly fading, and failure to win in Sardinia would almost certainly end any remaining hopes the Partenopei may have of finishing third.
Cagliari on the other hand are eight points from safety in 19th, and defeat on Sunday would make survival in Serie A a near impossible task for coach Zdenek Zeman.
The Rossoblu haven’t won in ten games, with eight defeats and two draws since the victory over Sassuolo in January.
That sort of form was enough to get club legend Gianfranco Zola the sack, but since Zeman’s return the Sardinians have drawn once and lost three times, the most recent defeat coming last Saturday at Genoa.
Although Zeman’s side have scored only six goals less than Roma in Serie A, they have the league’s worst defence having conceded eight goals this season, and Napoli’s top scorer Gonzalo Higuain will be looking to take full advantage of this at the weekend.
Higuain will start for the Vesuviani alongside Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik, who are likely to replace Manolo Gabbiadini and the suspended David Lopez.
For the hosts Lorenzo Crisetig is banned and so is likely to be replaced by Daniele Conti with Modibo Diakite also coming in for Luca Rossettini.
Cagliari will be looking to draw on the spirit that saw them come from behind on three separate occasions to draw 3-3 at the Stadio San Paolo in the reverse fixture in November.
The Rossoblu though face an uphill task to pick up the three points they so crave as they haven’t beaten Sunday’s visitors since April 2009, with six of those being Napoli wins.
Form Guide: Cagliari (L-L-D-L-L-L), Napoli (L-D-L-D-L-W)
Expected Starting XIs
Cagliari: Brkic, Balzano, Ceppitelli, Diakite, Avelar, Dessena, Conti, Ekdal, Farias, Sau, Mpoku
Napoli: Andujar, Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Strinic, Inler, Gargano, Callejon, Hamsik, Mertens, Higuain