Milan are weakened by the absence of two key players, as Romagnoli and Locatelli are both suspended, reducing quality at centre back and in midfield. Gomez will start in defence, while Kucka and Sosa could both come into midfield, with Pasalic seemingly at risk. With De Sciglio being a major doubt, Calabria could continue at left back, while Niang again looks set for a place on the bench. Montella’s side are playing with belief at the moment and are enjoying a good spell. Coming back from 2-0 down at Torino to draw 2-2 will have boosted morale further and they’ll be fired up for the game against Napoli, whom they can move to within a point of with a win. That will be their target, enhancing their chances of a top a three finish, but a draw wouldn’t be a disaster either. They’ll be looking for ways to win, but won’t want to open up too much, knowing the attacking quality of Napoli. They’ll want to keep it tight and defending well is key, but they won’t just sit back and defend, being capable of posing a threat in attack themselves. If they can get ahead they’ll focus on protecting their advantage and become cautious, settling for a point if they happen to trail.
Napoli are without two members of their first choice back four, as Koulibaly and Ghoulam are at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Albiol is rated as a doubt, potentially leaving them without three. They have good options in midfield and attack and could be unchanged, although the likes of Allan and Diawara are options to come in. Pavoletti will again be on the bench, awaiting his first start. Having won five of their last six Serie A fixtures, Napoli travel in a confident mood and in a healthy frame of mind, looking for another three points in their quest to challenge Juventus and Roma ahead of them. Drawing the game would at least maintain the gap ahead of Milan and they won’t be too disappointed with a draw from one of their toughest away games, but they’ll be targeting a victory. Sarris’ side usually look to play attacking football and there will be spells where they take the game to Milan, although they’ll be wary of the hosts and will be balanced overall. Being in good goalscoring form, they’ll fancy their chances of finding the net, though they usually concede away, keeping only four clean sheets in their last 15 Serie A away games. They’ll be looking to win throughout.
Verdict & Prediction
Milan will be fired up for the game against Napoli and will be looking to close the gap to the side in third place. Three points will be the objective and there is plenty at stake, with a win representing a big result in their push for a Champions League place. A draw wouldn’t be a disaster however. They’ve only lost one of their ten home games in Serie A and will believe they can get a positive result, while the way they fought back from 2-0 down to draw at Torino was a measure of their mental toughness. They’ll be determined to get the better of Napoli, thus enhancing their top three chances.
Prediction: AC Milan +0.50 AH (same as Double Chance)
Odds: 1.80 Pinnacle, Sbobet