Napoli got off to a poor start to new Serie A season with a draw at Pescara and will be keen to make amends in front of their own fans in a highlight game of the round two against AC Milan. Rossoneri travel to Naples in high spirits following their hard-fought victory over Torino and are eager to notch two in a row.
Last season’s title chasers Napoli have gone through a turbulent summer which saw them lose the most important member of their team. Gonzalo Higuain’s decision to switch allegiance and move to Serie A foes Juventus took everyone at the club by surprise and it may be long before Napoli come to terms with Argentine striker’s departure. Akradiusz Milik was brought as his Higuain’s direct replacement, but Maurizio Sarri has different plans as to who will replace the flamboyant striker upfront. Serie A new season did not have the best of starts for Partenopei, who were forced to come from two goals behind to earn a point at Serie A newcomers Pescara. Dries Mertens was the man of the hour as he came on in the second half of the match to score twice and save his team from an early humiliation. Maurizio Sarri could deploy Belgian as a false nine for the clash against Milan as Partenopei are still experimenting with their squad in the absence of now Juventus’ striker.
Right wing Emanuele Giaccherini is still struggling with his muscle injury and will be out of action until early September. Lorenzo Tonelli is also in the medical room due to his knee injury, while Maurizio Sarri will have no other selection problems to worry about.
Donnarumma the hero
Rossoneri are celebrating their hero Gianluigi Donnarumma, who saved an injury-time penalty to help his team win a highly eventful Serie A opener against Torino. Milan welcomed their former coach Sinisa Mihajlovic at the beginning of the new season and were forced to work hard in order to grab the three points. Colombian striker Carlos Bacca grabbed the limelight with a hat-trick, but the 17-year-old goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma was the real hero as he saved Vincenzo Montella’s side after Torino mounted a stoppage-time fightback. Highly talented shot stopper was promoted last season by none other than Sinisa Mihajlovic, who watched Donnarumma crush his late hopes of a point with a brilliant save. AC Milan have begun a new post-Berlusconi era on a high and will be hoping for an extended run of results as they prepare to make a trip to San Paolo stadium. Rossoneri are under huge pressure to invest in bringing new signings and at the same time keep their first-team stars together, which will be a challenging task in the remaining week of the transfer window. Milan have admitted that they would consider selling Chelsea target Alessio Romagnoli, which could be a big blow for Rossoneri as they look to get back on track following several highly unsuccessful campaigns.
Milan travel to Naples without midfielder Andrea Bartolacci, who faces at least a fortnight on the sidelines with a thigh injury. Other than that, Rossoneri have a clean bill of health.
It is the highlight clash of the second round in Serie A and a game that promises to be a highly eventful encounter. AC Milan are on a mission to win back the fans following a string of dreadful seasons, while Napoli need to win in order to make amends for two dropped points at Pescara. I expect to see an openly contested match with goals at both ends of the pitch.
Top pick: Both teams to score – yes 1.8 (4/5) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Napoli 1.65 (13/20) @Betvictor
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 1.75 (3/4) @Sportingbet