Milan return to action after the international break and face an extremely difficult opponent away from home. Napoli have yet to lose a Serie A match this season, which only highlights how difficult of a task awaits Vincenzo Montella’s men tomorrow evening.
Date: Saturday, November 18
Time: 20:45 CET
Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples
TV Guide: Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, BT Sport 2, Premium Sport HD
Milan have been unconvincing so far this season, collecting just 19 points out of 12 games. Meanwhile Napoli are flying high and sit top of the table with 32 points out of 36 possible.
There is big pressure on Montella and the players, who have so far not shown their full potential in a so far disappointing campaign for the Rossoneri.
There is confusion over the lineup that coach Montella could deploy. Some sources say that the former Sampdoria manager will lineup a three-man backline, however, according to Milannews.it the formation will be 4-4-1-1.
The same source states that in the attacking phase of the game, the formation will shift to a 3-5-1-1, with Fabio Borini playing higher in order to reinforce the midfield.
Otherwise, the team will have to deal with several absences. Andrea Conti is out for the long-term, while Hakan Calhanoglu has a minor physical issue and was not called up. Lucas Biglia also isn’t fully fit, which is why he is expected to start from the bench.
At the back, Musacchio, Bonucci and Romagnoli are expected to start, with Borini supposedly shifting from right back to right-wingback. Thus said, Alessio Romagnoli will most probably play as a left back in the defensive phase.
Riccardo Montolivo is set to start once again and will accompany Franck Kessie along with Manuel Locatelli in the midfield. The three will be supported by Giacomo Bonaventura on the left side of the midfield in a variable wingback role.
In the attack, Nikola Kalinic is set to start over Andre Silva and Patrick Cutrone once again, with Milan’s top scorer Suso supporting him in a free role.
Called up players: A. Donnarumma, G. Donnarumma, Storari, Abate, Antonelli, Bonucci, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Zapata, Biglia, Bonaventura, Borini, Gabbia, Kessie, Locatelli, Mauri, Montolivo, Cutrone, Kalinic,
Milan Probable XI (3-5-1-1): Donnarumma; Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Borini, Kessié, Montolivo, Locatelli, Bonaventura; Suso; Kalinic.
As mentioned, Napoli have been in great form so far during their Serie A campaign. They sit top of the table with 32 points out of 36 possible and are regarded as one of the best playing teams in Europe.
Milan’s record against Napoli is somewhat terrifying. The Rossoneri have last beaten their opponents three years ago at the San Siro, with Giacomo Bonaventura and Jeremy Menez scoring in a 2-0 win. Our teams’ last win against the Partenopei away from home is even more of a historical event – 7 years ago during the season of Milan’s last Serie A title.
Napoli Probable XI (4-3-3): Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.
LAST TIME OUT
Milan’s last match before the international break was against Sassuolo away. Vincenzo Montella’s men managed to defeat their opponents 2-0, with Alessio Romagnoli and Suso scoring the goals to save the manager’s position.
Meanwhile, Napoli’s last match was also away from home, but was not as successful. Maurizio Sarri’s team only took a point away from Verona after drawing 0-0 against Chievo at the Stadio Bentegodi.
Milan’s main point of reference will be, as usual, Suso. The Spaniard should be boosted by his first national team start and hungry for success even at club level. Moreover, Suso scored his first goal against Napoli at the San Paolo and will obviously want to repeat it. He could take advantage of playing against Mario Rui, who has so far played only 69 minutes of Serie A football this season.
On Napoli’s team, there are many danger men, but Lorenzo Insigne is definitely the man to keep an eye on. His record against Milan is stunning, as he has scored 5 career goals against the Rossoneri. He will also be fully rested after being almost unused in Italy’s World Cup playoff qualifiers against Sweden.
It is difficult to predict anything other than a loss, although I really do hope that the team manages to get a good result from the Stadio San Paolo. However, it will be an extremely difficult match and I personally predict a 1-3 loss against a flawless Napoli side.