By 90Min
November 17, 2017

While visitors and Italian giants AC Milan are struggling once again in the league, in a disappointing 7th place in Serie A after 12 matches, high-flying Napoli look like the real deal at the top of the league.

Under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri, I Ciucciarelli are sitting pretty in 1st place, still undefeated with ten wins from a possible twelve. While giving a good account of themselves against Premier League leaders Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola saying they are 'one of the best sides he has ever faced', they have still managed to maintain top form domestically.

Getty Images/GettyImages

With manager Vincenzo Montella under huge pressure to rally his side after a poor start to the campaign, despite spending over £175m in the summer on new players, the Rossoneri need to act quick to return to form and challenge for a Champions League place at the very least.


Classic Encounter

Napoli 2-3 AC Milan (1987-88)

In the first season of iconic coach Arrigo Sacchi as manager of AC Milan, he had the monumental task of wrestling the championship from Serie A holders Napoli, who owed their first Serie A title in 1987 to mercurial football god Diego Maradona.

Trying to recover their poor form in the European Cup, where they were knocked out by Espanyol, the Rossoneri turned to the talent of Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten to lead them to title glory.

Getty Images/GettyImages

Playing away from home at the San Paolo, goals from the Dutch duo was the difference, despite the best efforts of talisman Maradona, who curled a sumptuous free kick into the top corner to give Napoli hope.

Winning against the odds in Napoli's backyard, Milan then went on to dominate Italian football for several years, clinching the long awaited European Cup in 1989, using the win against Napoli as the catalyst. 


Form

Napoli (DLWWDW)

Mixed form for the Serie A leaders, as domestic form has kept them in high spirits, following back to back defeats against the attacking power of Manchester City.

Holding their own, Napoli impressed at the Etihad, narrowly losing 2-1 in a end to end match which they deserved at least a point out of.

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/GettyImages

In Serie A, before the international break Sarri's men stuttered to a disappoiting stalemate against Chievo, drawing 0-0 at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.


AC Milan (WDLWDD)


The worst result in recent times for AC Milan was the lacklustre performance against champions Juventus, who brushed aside their old rivals thanks to a brace from former Napoli star Gonazlo Higuain.

Wins against the likes of Chievo and Sassuolo have helped the Milanese side turner a corner domestically, while points picked up against AEK Athens and keeps them fighting at the top of group D in the Europa League.

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

With eleven points to gain on city rivals Inter and a massive thirteen point gap between themselves and Napoli, this weekend's game could be a turning point in the season for Montella.


Team News

For hosts Napoli, the key player missing will be influential full back Faouzi Ghoulam, who suffered a serious knee injury against the Citizens in the Champions League, which could keep the attacking defender out of the side until after the New Year.

Meanwhile, the league leaders have Polish striker out of action until February with a similar knee injury.

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Meanwhile, AC Milan have a nearly full squad to call upon, although they may be weak on the right side of the defence.

With Italian international Davide Calabria sidelined until the end of November with an ankle knock Andrea Conti missing for several months following knee surgery, the Rossoneri will call upon the experience of 31-year-old Ignazio Abate.

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Predicted Napoli XI: Reina, Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Rui; Hamsik, Allan, Jorginho; Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.

Predicted AC Milan XI: Donnarumma, Romagnoli, Bonucci, Musacchio, Abate, Suso, Kessié, Biglia, Rodríguez, Silva, Calhanoglu


Prediction

AC Milan have improved in the league of late, but considering the game is at Stadio San Paolo, where Napoli have been formidable thus far, the hosts will solider on with another win and boost their chances of a first Serie A title since 1990.

Napoli 2-1 AC Milan

You May Like