By 90Min
August 24, 2018

Milan travel to Napoli on Saturday for their first game of the 2018/19 Serie A season, after the recent bridge disaster in Genoa brought about the postponement of last week's scheduled game.

Gonzalo Higuain, Milan's new loan signing from Juventus, returns to face his former side Napoli. He has a taste for scoring against Napoli - he's hit five goals in his last six games - which Milan can take encouragement from. 

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Maurizio Sarri in the summer, will be facing his former side too. He managed Milan for eight seasons between 2001 and 2009, winning eight trophies - including two Champions Leagues. 


Classic Encounter


AC Milan 5-2 Napoli (Serie A 2008)


Milan were on a seven-match winless run at home during the 2008/09 Serie A season when they hosted Napoli at San Siro. But the Brazilian trio of Ronaldo, Pato, and Kaka summoned their samba magic to spell the end of Milan's home misfortunes. 

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/GettyImages

Ronaldo opened the scoring for Milan after being played through by Pirlo. Ronaldo's shot squirmed under Napoli goalkeeper Iezzo before the ball crept in despite Cupi's attempted clearance. Ronaldo scored again just after half time to make it 3-2 to Milan. 


Kaka scored Milan's fourth with a powerful strike from outside the box, and an 18-year-old Pato, who was making his Milan debut, scored the last goal of the game. 


Milan's epic win over Napoli was a rare consolation in a season they had to see their San Siro roommates Inter win the Scudetto. 


Key Battle


Gonzalo Higuain vs Kalidou Koulibaly


Higuain will be hoping to add to his collection of goals scored against Napoli and in doing so earn admiration from his new Milan fans. His last goal against Napoli came in a 2-1 win for Juventus last season, a goal he celebrated by taunting Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis. 

Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

Napoli's Senegalese centre-back Koulibaly will be tasked with holding off Higuain's attempts at attacking the heart of Napoli's defence. Napoli failed to keep a clean sheet in their first game of the season, a 2-1 win against Lazio, so their defence will be hoping to redeem themselves. 

Higuain is a striker who knows how to use his physicality to faze defenders. Koulibaly's strength could be key to keeping Higuain from netting against Napoli. 


Team News

Ancelotti is likely to name the same line-up that played and won in Napoli's recent win over  Lazio. Arkadiusz Milik, who has fully recovered from a knee injury he suffered last season, scored in the win against Lazio and should retain his place. 

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/GettyImages

As this is Milan's first game of the season, new signings Tiemoue Bakayoko and Higuain could make their Rossoneri debuts. Hakan Calhanoglu is suspended for the game as he still serves a one-match ban.    


Predicted Lineups


Napoli: Ospina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Rui; Allan, Hamsik, Zielinski; Callejon, Milik, Insigne.

AC Milan: Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Biglia, Bakayoko; Suso, Higuain, Bonaventura.


Prediction


Hosts Napoli are undefeated in seven matches at the Stadio San Paolo against Milan. Napoli have also won three of their last four meetings with them. It will not be an easy game for either side, but given Napoli's recent record against Milan, and coming off of a confidence-boosting win over Lazio, Napoli will be favourites for this game. 

Paolo Bruno/GettyImages

Milan will be hoping to get their season off to a good start and they will need nothing short of a special performance in Naples to win all three points. New striker Higuain's goalscoring record against Napoli will give them some hope. 


Predicted Scoreline: Napoli 2-1 AC Milan

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