Serie A high-flying sides AC Milan and Napoli go head to head on Saturday as they look to extend the positive results and keep up the pace in their run for the Champions League places and league’s title, respectively.
It is not our intention to degrade Milan’s success this season, but only to point out the fact that Vincenzo Montella’s men are some way off from their desired destination. Fallen giants of the Italian football are however making huge steps back to prominence, led by a young tactician and adequately young squad, which has been turning heads with its mature performances throughout the 2016-17 season. Starting from the goal where all of the team’s hopes rest in the hands of a teenager goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, up to the attack lines led by the likes of Manuel Locatelli, Milan are an excellent blend of youth and experience. Hence the inconsistency which will undoubtedly come in time, if Montella and his boys are to be given enough time to grow and develop together. Rossoneri are coming off from a frustrating 2-2 draw at Torino, but Milan can count themselves lucky to have got away with one point in their bag. Now is the time to set the record straight and claim another great scalp against in-form Napoli.
Ricardo Montolivo has been ruled out with his knee injury, whereas the home side is likely to be without Matti Fernandez as well, as the Chilean is also having knee problems. Luca Antonelli and Mattia De Sciglio complete the injury list.
Having lost the last-season title race to Juventus and ultimately one of their best players Gonzalo Higuain to the same club, Napoli were expected to suffer a dramatic slump in their efforts to once again be competitive this year. Maurizio Sarri’s men managed to beat the grim expectations and predictions and are once again standing as the biggest competitors to five-time successive champions. Higuain’s absence was not felt even once so far as the attack-oriented Sarri’s side evenly spread its top scorers with Dries Mertens leading the line however with 12 goals thus far, five and six more than his teammates Callejon and Hamsik, respectively. Partenopei are coming off from a 3-1 win over Pescara, which allowed them to extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches in all competitions and there is no doubt that Sarri’s men will be extremely motivated to keep the good run going. The positive record against Milan goes in their favour as Napoli failed to lose any of their last four encounters with Milan, winning three and drawing one of those.
Arkadiusz Milik continues his road to recovery from the ACL injury which ruined his first season with the club. Vlad Chiriches is also out with injury, whereas the visiting side is without Omar El Kaddouri, Faouzi Ghoulam and Kalidou Koulibaly who are all competing at the Africa Cup of Nations.
We are expecting a high-tempo game between the two teams who play great football this season. Neither of the rivals will back down under pressure and we are likely to be in for an openly contested affair. Napoli have the most recent record working in their favour, but there are different options to give value to your bet as well.
Top pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.62 (8/13) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Napoli 2.05 (21/20) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.75 (3/4) @Betfair