Two Italian giants Inter Milan and Napoli square off against each other as Napoli welcomes Inter at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. It will be a curtain closer for SerieA for this week as it will be the last match on Sunday night. Inter are hoping to win the title for the first time since 2009-10 thanks to their consistent run this season. They are sitting at the top of the SerieA table with 74 points from 30 matches.
Second-placed Milan is 11points adrift of them in what looks like an impossible thing to get hold of Inter. Napoli, on the other hand, are currently placed 5th in the table and only two points separating Atalanta and them. It’s a must-win game for the home side as they aim to close in on Atalanta for the final CL spot. A win for Inter would be quite enough to cement their place at the top of the Serie A table.
Why you should watch for
There is absolutely no reason why you should miss this clash between the two Italian giants. One will be trying to extend their lead at the top while the other is fighting for a CL spot. The match is occurring at such a time when it is a must-win encounter for both sides. Loss to any of the two teams would result in a slip in their positions. A loss for Inter would give the chance to Milan to close the gap at the top of the table. Loss to Napoli will only but dent them from making a shot at the final UCL spot available in SerieA.
So as the headlines suggest, it is going to be a quite enthralling match between these two heavyweight teams. Stay tuned in to see which of the two teams win and take advantage in the Italian title race. The match is slated to start at 00:15 IST and 18:45 GMT.
The Gli Azzurris are playing this tough home game on the back of a strong 2-0 win over Sampdoria. Fabian Ruiz gave them the lead in the 34th min courtesy a Piotr Zielinski assist. Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen doubled their advantage in the 73rd minute when he slotted home from a Dries Mertens assist. It was a quite satisfactory day in office for the Blues as they maintained lion’s share possession of the ball. They were also quite effective upfront unleashing 20 shots at the opposition’s goal.
Napoli form Guide WWWLW
In defense also, disciplined performance from the players ensured that the Sampdoria strikers couldn’t pose any threat to them. Undoubtedly, Gennarro Gattuso will want a more improved show from his team in order to defeat a strong Inter side. Gattuso’s men have won five of their last six fixtures including wins against strong sides such as Milan and Roma. Their only loss came at the hands of Juventus last match week.
The Nerazzuris will be facing Napoli after sealing a hard fought 1-0 win over relegated side Cagilari. Matteo Darmian’s goal from an Achraf Hakimi assist proved to be the decisive goal in that match. Conte had rested few of his key players and that’s why Inter had to toil against the lowly placed team. The Cagilari defence was well organised and aptly lead by two senior players,Diego Godin and Daniele Rugani.
In spite of that, Inter was able to maintain much of the possession in the game. They also took 15 shots at the Cagliari goal and 7 of them were on target. In the defense, they mastered over the Cagliari attackers and didn’t allow them a chance to score. They are on a 9 game winning streak in the SerieA and would look to continue on that impressive run. Conte would expect a much better display of football from his players to win away against Napoli. Though Inter has played well in big matches this season, it remains to be seen how they fair in this game.
Inter Form guide – WWWWW
The Milan based side are travelling to Napoli without much serious injury concerns. Backup defender Aleksandar Kolarov will be missing the clash owing to an injury. Arturo Vidal is expected to be back among the substitutes after undergoing a meniscus surgery and regaining full fitness. Other than these two, there are no known injuries in the team.
Lautaro Martinez is set to be back in starting XI in place of Sanchez after a rare rest against Cagilari. Nicolo Barella will also return in the central midfield after sitting out of the previous game due to suspension. Achraf Hakimi is tipped to start in the right back position making Darmian out of the starting squad. Ivan Perisic is more likely to start in left wing back position, thus having a more attacking option in hand. This means Ashley Young will miss out. Baring these few changes, it will be the same lineup that started in the previous match.
Defence – Bastoni Vrij Skriniar
Midfield – Perisic Eriksen Brozovic Barella Hakimi
Attack – Lukaku Martienz
Napoli confirmed that first choice goalkeeper David Ospina suffered a bicep strain in the 2-0 win against Sampdoria. He is ruled out for this fixture. Piotr Zielinski regained match fitness thus playing down fears of his possibility of being sidelined due to a muscle injury. Mexican winger Hirving Lozano will be out for this clash owing to a suspension for seeing 5 yellow cards. Other than this, there are no injuries in the team as of now.
Defence- Rui , Koulibaly , Manolas, Lorenzo
CDM- Demme Ruiz
Attack – Insigne Zielinski Politano
Alex Meret will be Napoli’s shot preferred shot-stopper in the absence of Columbian David Ospina. Tiemoue Bakayoko is again set to continue as a bench warmer as Ruiz and Demme will be starting in Central Midfield. Due to Lozano’s suspension, Matteo Politano will be starting as a right-winger. In all, Gattuso is anticipated to field the same lineup that started against Sampdoria.
Head to Head
These two sides have met each other 35 times till date. Napoli has a clear advantage in the meetings against Inter previously bagging 14 wins out of these 35. Inter has 12 wins in their kitty, though they have won three of the last five assignments. The other nine matches have resulted in a stalemate between the two teams.
Players to watch out for
The Italian has been in sensational form in the Blues colour this season. He has already found the back of the net 15 times and provided 9 assists for his team. He is a fox in the box and also has the creativity to create chances upfront. Gattuso will once again depend upon him to deliver in this big match.
The Poland man has been back at his best after a dismal previous season for Napoli. He has scored 8 goals and given 8 assists in 31 starts for his side. He will be the main man behind the innovation of chances in the opposition box. Against Inter, he will have to on top to fancy Napoli’s chances of winning it.
The Belgian talismanic striker is in red hot form for the Nerazzuris in this 2020-21 season. He has already chipped in with 27 goals and 9 assists for Inter. Belgian is a dangerous threat in the opposition box with excellent finishing skills. He will be looking to polish his scoring boots once again when they face Napoli today night.
The Argentine striker has formed a deadly partnership with Lukaku and is probably the most feared one across Europe now. He now has 17 goals and 6 assists in his kitty from 31 starts for his team. In any given day, he can be the man to look out for scoring goals. He will again be aiming to score for the Gli Azzurris against a strong Napoli defence.
In all respects, it is going to be a very interesting and astonishing match on the cards between these two sides. Both sides will not be providing their respective opponents even an inch on the pitch in this fierce encounter. Inter will be looking to snatch an away win from Napoli and solidify their stay at the top. In pursuit of a different aim, Napoli will be trying to gain a champions league spot by winning the game tonight. At midnight, it promises us to present a very entertaining clash between these two eminent sides.
For more such articles do click here