AC Milan are getting ready to do battle for the first of three times in the month of April as the two sides face off at the Maradona on Sunday night.
La Gazzetta dello Sport details the contrasting approaches to the game from the two head coaches, as Luciano Spalletti seems oriented towards keeping the top players in the team and not experimenting too much with a formula that has them 23 points ahead of the Rossoneri.
Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia are the main attacking weapons for the Partenopei, with the latter having won the penalty that helped Napoli towards victory in the reverse fixture, and sending an intimidating message in view of the away match at San Siro in the Champions League could be vital.
Milan seem to thrive in the climate of the Champions League and in big stadiums as they recently demonstrated in London against Tottenham, but the Maradona is something different and that is why the pressure will be on for Pioli’s men to take a positive result south from the first leg.
The Milan boss seems set to abandon the three-man defence which helped him stop the crisis that erupted in January but is now no longer keeping out goals, with the 4-2-3-1 expected to return.
This time he hopes that Davide Calabria can keep Kvaratskhelia quiet after he struggled in the first league match before being taken off at half-time, and Alessandro Florenzi could play instead of Alexis Saelemaekers to give him a hand on the right.
Based on the answers he gets on Sunday, Pioli will decide the defensive structure for the Champions League match at San Siro, with Simon Kjaer tipped to start over Malick Thiaw with the task of taming Osimhen.
The strongest message could come from Rafael Leao, who was absent in the first leg and is in a rut for Milan but seemed to be awakened with the national team. If he hits form, Milan have a much better chance.