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AC Milan vs Napoli: preview, team news, how to watch and prediction

Following a hard-fought victory over Frosinone, AC Milan will take on Napoli at San Siro Stadium in Serie A on Sunday night.

Following a hard-fought victory over Frosinone, AC Milan will take on Napoli at San Siro Stadium in Serie A on Sunday night.

The Rossoneri are currently third in the table with 49 points from 23 games, sitting eight points behind the table topper Inter Milan. Although Stefano Pioli’s side are behind in the title race, they are in a strong position to finish in the top-four and qualify for the Champions League next season.

So, Milan won’t be too disappointed about their season so far and in addition, if they can win this weekend then they will be only one point behind the second-placed Juventus.

On the other hand, having won the Scudetto title after more than three decades last term, Napoli have endured a dire campaign following the departure of Luciano Spaletti.

The Azzurri opted to appoint Rudi Garcia as Spaletti’s successor but the Frenchman couldn’t manage to help Napoli showcase their best. So, the defending champions decided to sack Garcia and appoint Walter Mazzarri but the Azzurri have continued to struggle.

Napoli are currently seventh in the table with 35 points from 22 games, sitting four points behind the fourth-placed Atalanta – who have played an extra game. So, Mazzarri’s side will be desperate to perform at their best in this encounter and win the match.

Previous meetings

The reverse game ended in a 2-2 draw when these two sides met at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona back in October last year. Milan are currently unbeaten against Napoli over the last four games in all competitions, winning two of those.

However, Napoli have won the last three consecutive league games against Milan at San Siro Stadium. So, the Azzurri will be looking to continue their winning run at the San Siro Stadium on Sunday.

How to watch

The game will kick off at 7:45pm UK time and the match will be televised live on TNT Sports 1 in the UK.

Match going fans can buy AC Milan vs Napoli tickets through the official club channels. If tickets are sold out, they can try a reputable online reseller such as seatsnet.com.

Team news

Milan have several injury problems ahead of this game as Fikayo Tomori, Pierre Kalulu, Tommaso Pobega and Malick Thiaw are all set to remain sidelined due to their respective problems.

Tijjani Reijnders is suspended for this game having picked up his fifth booking of this season last time out, while Samuel Chukwueze isn’t in contention to feature as he is currently out with his national team Nigeria playing in AFCON.

As for Napoli, they will be without Alex Meret and Mathias Olivera due to their respective injury issues. Piotr Zielinski has entered the final six months of his current contract and is likely to leave the club for free. So, Napoli have decided not to use him over the coming months and therefore, he isn’t expected to feature in this crucial fixture.

Mario Rui is not eligible to feature in this encounter due to accumulation of yellow cards. Victor Osimhen is also currently out with his national team Nigeria playing in AFCON. The Super Eagles have booked their tickets for the final of this competition so the striker is set to be unavailable for selection in this encounter.

Predicted line-up

Pioli is expected to go with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation for this game with Mike Maignan set to be in goal. Matteo Gabbia and Simon Kjær could be at the heart of Milan’s defence, while Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez might be the two fullbacks.

Yacine Adli could be paired up with Ismael Bennacer in the engine room, pushing Ruben Loftus-Cheek into the attacking midfield position. Rafael Leao is set to be in the left-wing position with Christian Pulisic likely to be on the opposition flank. Olivier Giroud should lead the line for Milan in this crucial encounter.

Expected AC Milan line-up vs Napoli

Maignan; Calabria, Kjær, Gabbia, Hernandez; Adli, Bennacer; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud

For Napoli, Mazzarri could deploy a 4-3-3 system with Pierluigi Gollini in goal for the visitors. Amir Rrahmani and Juan Jesus could be in the centre-back position, while Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Pasquale Mazzocchi should be the two fullbacks.

Stanislav Lobotka is likely to be in the deep-lying playmaker position with Frank Anguissa and Jens Cajuste expected to be in the box-to-box role. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Matteo Politano should be deployed on the flanks, while Giovanni Simeone may lead the line for the visitors.

Expected Napoli line-up vs Milan

Gollini; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Rui; Lobotka, Anguissa, Cajuste; Kvaratskhelia, Simeone, Politano

Key players

Giroud has been in excellent form this season and the home fans will be hoping that the Frenchman will be able to continue his impressive performance in this game as well. The veteran forward is excellent in the air so the Azzurri backline will have to be careful about that.

Leao is a devastating player and if he can showcase his best in this fixture then the hosts’ chances of winning this game will increase. So, Di Lorenzo will have to be at his very best to stop the Portuguese from performing at his best.

Loftus-Cheek has enjoyed a stellar start in Serie A after moving to San Siro from Chelsea last summer. His physicality, dynamism and aerial prowess have added extra dimensions to Milan’s attack. So, Pioli will be hoping that the Englishman will be able to help the Rossoneri win this game by displaying an eye-catching performance.

Pulisic started his life at Milan promisingly following his switch last summer. But, he hasn’t been at his best in recent times, nevertheless, he will be looking to make his mark on this big game by putting his name on the score-sheet.

Hernandez is a highly talented player and his combination with Leao on the left-hand side has been one of the fundamental parts of Milan’s success in recent years. So, Napoli will have to find a way to stop the Frenchman from performing at his best in this fixture to come away with all three points.

As for Napoli, Kvaratskhelia is their talisman for this game amid Osimhen’s absence. So, the Georgian will have to take extra responsibility to create opportunities for fellow teammates and finish those off if he gets any.

Prediction

Although Milan haven’t had a great record against Napoli at San Siro Stadium in recent times in Serie A, the hosts are the favourite to win this game as the visitors have endured a woeful campaign so far this term.

However, the Rossoneri have been inconsistent this season and therefore, it might not pan out as a straightforward game for Milan. But, Napoli are currently low in confidence so the hosts could win this game. However, it is going to be interesting to see how the match eventually unfolds on Sunday. AC Milan 2-1 Napoli

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