AC Milan vs Napoli: Match Preview and Prediction
We have a cracker of a game in our hands as AC Milan hosts Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli at the San Siro.
Approximately a third of the Serie A season is over and both the giants are hugely underperforming. They are far away from fighting it out for the Scudetto and now their only realistic target would be to finish in one of the four Champions League places.
The Rossoneri have only won four out of the 12 matches so far and sits at a lowly fourteenth in the table.Their play is devoid of any substance and look a far cry from the AC Milan of yore.
The Stefano Piolo’s side have been inconsistent with no real standout performer. The coach has failed to stick to a single formation and style of play and there has been a lot of chopping and changing in player’s positions.
On the other hand, Napoli’s performances have been slightly better as they sit at seventh in the table with a huge gap of 13 points separating them from league leaders Juventus.
The Naples club is in dire straits as they look to deal with player’s revolt against the club’s egoistic president Aurelio De Laurentiis. As a result of this, their results have been poor of late and they are winless in the last four league games.
For the Rossoneri, the key duo of Hakan Calhanoglu and Ismael Bennacer would be missing after an accumulation of yellow card offences. The two personnel will most likely be replaced by Ante Rebic and Lucas Biglia. Samu Castillejo is out and Mateo Mussachio is doubtful for the clash.
For Carlo Ancelotti’s side, the injury plagued striker Arkadiusz Milik is expected to miss out with an abdominal injury. Apart from him, Ancelotti has the full squad at his disposal and may play in a 4-3-3 formation with Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne up front.
Krzysztof Piatek vs Kalidou Koulibaly
Piatek took the footballing world by storm, as he scored 22 goals in the league and caught the eyes of all the big clubs in the world. Milan managed to secure the secure the signature of this fearsome Polish international, which was considered a major coup.
The Polish international is considered the heir to Robert Lewandowski’s throne, which is a huge praise in itself. The 24-year-old opened his account for the Rossoneri in a 2-0 win against Napoli and he would want to do an encore of that performance.
The reigning Serie A defender of the year, Koulibaly is widely considered one of the best defenders on the planet. The Senegalese international is a complete defender, given his prowess in old-school defending and playing the ball out from the back.
The 28-year-old has plenty of experience in his bag and most certainly know how to deal with such lethal strikers. Piatek will have to play out of his skin if he has to make an impact on the game as Koulibaly will not let him have a sniff of goal.
Alessio Romagnoli vs Dries Mertens
The Milan captain is a versatile central defender with all the elegance and composure in the world. The left-footed centre-back has been one of the brightest sparks in this bland Milan side. His leadership ability has come to the fore and has also cemented his place in the national side of late.
The former Roma man has been compared to his idol Alessandro Nesta for his ability and style of play. His record of 5.3 clearances per game will come out handy in stopping Napoli’s fearsome trio of attackers.
Mertens took the central striker role at the Naples club like a fish takes to water. He has been on fire this season as well with four goals in nine appearances.
The Belgian will start upfront as the focal point of a three-man attack. If he manages to link up well with his fellow attackers, then Milan defenders will be in trouble.
Romagnoli has to marshall his troops well, so as to not let Napoli dictate play at the San Siro. If he manages to stifle the Napoli feeding line, the chances of grabbing three crucial points at home will vastly increase.
Milan has lost both of their last two matches and are under severe pressure. They are up against a Napoli side which is in serious trouble, given their trouble with the players and club hierarchy. The Rossoneri wouldn’t get a better opportunity to inflict defeat on their top-four rivals.
The Naples side have a great coach and a supremely talented group of players but they still can’t put up great results. Carlo Ancelotti need to turn things around quickly or the club will miss out on the Champions League.
The Rossoneri have kept a clean-sheet in last three home matches against Napoli in all competitions and another one of this performance will do a world of good to this squad, which more and more looks bereft of ideas and flair.
Napoli have the personnel to do the job but it won’t be an easy task away from home. The whole team has to put in their all to secure a great result to inject some positivity into their squad given the recent mishaps.
Score Prediction- AC Milan 1-1 Napoli