Napoli are set to travel away to Inter Milan on Sunday looking to maintain their position at the top of Serie A.
Inter Milan are currently fifth in the league, one point behind the top four places. However, they have games-in-hand over both Lazio and Roma, who are in the two positions above. The Black and Blues have been in decent form since 2018 began, winning two matches, drawing four and losing just one.
Napoli suffered a blow last weekend after ?losing 4-2 at home to Roma. The Light Blues remain at the top of Serie A, leading Juventus by one point, however, the Old Lady have played one game less than them.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the San Siro:
One of their classic encounters came back in December 2013 in a memorable 4-2 home win for Napoli.
The Light Blues took an early lead in the game thanks to a strike from Gonzalo Higuain just inside of Inter’s penalty area. However, the away side struck back in the 35th minute when Esteban Cambiasso hammered a shot past Napoli goalkeeper Rafael from a few yards out.
The set back didn’t effect the hosts for long as two quickfire goals just minutes later from Dries Mertens and Blerim Dzemaili saw Napoli storm to a 3-1 lead. But the scoring wasn’t over just yet in this amazing first half as Yuto Nagatomo pulled a goal back for Inter Milan in first half stoppage time.
In the 71st minute, the Black and Blues went down to 10 men when Ricky Alvarez received a second yellow card. That’s an advantage Napoli eventually exploited as they struck a decisive blow ten minutes later. Jose Callejon poked a cross home from a couple of yards out to seal the game.
Mauro Icardi vs Kalidou Koulibaly
Mauro Icardi was an unused substitute last time out for Inter as they beat Benevento 2-0 at home. However, their star striker is likely to start this game for them
The Argentinian international is his sides top scorer with 18 goals in Serie A this season and will be their danger man on Sunday. One of the players likely to be given the responsibility to stop Icardi will be Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.
He has made 26 league appearances for the away side this season, missing only one game, which demonstrates his importance. His side will need him to be sharp as they look to maintain their position in the league.
Dries Mertens vs Samir Handanovic
For Napoli, they have an equally dangerous forward playing for them. Dries Mertens heads into this game with 17 goals in Serie A this season, just one below Icardi. But he has much more to his game than just goals as he has also made six assists for his side in the league, that’s five more than Inter’s top striker.
If Inter are going to get a positive result from this game then their goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will need to be at the top of his game.
Handanovic is the third best goalkeeper in Serie A at keeping clean sheets this season. So far he has 10, with only Roma’s Alisson and Napoli’s Pepe Reina keeping more.
For Inter, Mauro Icardi is likely to return to the starting eleven after not featuring in his side’s previous game against Benevento. But Tommaso Berni and Andrea Ranocchia both remain out for this match.
The away side will have Faouzi Ghoulam unavailable for this fixture as they look to secure three points to put their title charge back on track after last weekend’s defeat.
Potential Inter Milan Starting Lineup: Handanovic; Cancelo, Skriniar, Miranda, D’Ambrosio; Borja Valero, Vecino; Perisic, Rafinha, Candreva; Icardi.
Potential Napoli Starting Lineup: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.
Despite losing last time out, Napoli will still be strong favourites to pick up the three points in this fixture. Inter haven’t beaten the Light Blues in their last three meetings and haven’t scored against them either.
But with the likes of Icardi playing upfront for the Black and Blues they still remain a threat going forward. However, still expect Napoli to come out on top in this one.
Prediction: Inter Milan 1-3 Napoli
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