On Sunday evening, Genaro Gattuso will host Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan in a greatly anticipated top of the table clash in Serie A
Both teams come into the match having enjoyed wonderful starts to the campaign – with Napoli and Milan occupying places in the top three.
Milan in particular will be brimming with confidence, having won all but two of their first seven league games of the season and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to his very best despite being 39 years old.
Gennaro Gattuso’s men have also won five of their first seven league games of the season, and the Milan legend will demand his players build on a good recent away win at Bologna.
Here’s 90min‘s preview of the game.
When Is Kick Off? Sunday 22 November
What Time Is Kick Off? 19:45 (GMT)
Where Is it Played? San Paolo Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports 2, LiveScore App, Bet 365
Referee? Paolo Valeri
Amir Rrahmani and Elseid Hysaj both tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty, so will be unavailable this weekend.
Meanwhile, record signing Victor Osimhen suffered a shoulder injury during the international break, leaving him sidelined for the crucial game. Gattuso will likely move Dries Mertens back into the central striker role until the former Lille man returns.
For AC Milan, the only definite absentee is the in-form Rafael Leao, who suffered a thigh injury while away with Portugal. The forward has been ruled out for at least two weeks and will likely be replaced by Croatian international Ante Rebic on the left, although Samu Castillejo is also an option for Pioli. .
Napoli: Meret; Di Lozano, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Fabian, Bakayoko; Lozano, Elmas, Insigne; Mertens.
AC Milan: Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic.
As alluded to previously, Napoli have started the season strongly, winning five of the opening seven league games. Their two losses have come to Juventus (although they didn’t lose the game, they were sanctioned for not going to the game due to COVID cases) and high-flying Sassuolo.
One thing that will somewhat worry I Partenopei up to this point is their home form however, having lost their last two home fixtures in all competitions
AC Milan, on the other hand, have enjoyed a blistering start to the campaign and look a real force to be reckoned with. 39-year old Ibrahimovic is showing no signs of slowing down and is currently the league’s leading marksman, scoring eight times in just five appearances.
The Rossoneri have faltered a little recently, most notably a disappointing home loss to Lille in Europe. Pioli also saw his team draw 2-2 on their own turf with Hellas Verona, who hold the worst attack in the top half of Serie A.
Bologna 0-1 Napoli (8/11)
HNK Rijeka 1-2 Napoli (5/11)
Napoli 0-2 Sassuolo (1/11)
Real Sociedad 0-1 Napoli (29/10)
Benevento 1-2 Napoli (25/10)
AC Milan 2-2 Hellas Verona (8/11)
AC Milan 0-3 Lille (5/11)
Udinese 1-2 AC Milan (1/11)
AC Milan 3-0 Sparta Prague (29/10)
Ac Milan 3-3 Roma (26/10)
History says this one will be tight. While the action will most likely be hard fought out, Pioli will take a very confident side to the San Paolo Stadium who will no doubt go into it ready to take all three points.
While Napoli have a good defensive record in the league this season, AC Milan will most likely have too much fire power for Gattuso’s men, and therefore come away with all three points.
Prediction: Napoli 1-2 AC Milan