League leaders AC Milan travel south to face third-placed Napoli in this heavyweight clash at the top of Italy’s top flight on Sunday night, as either side could end the weekend in first position. Andrew Delaney previews this Serie A encounter and provides his best betting tips.
Who is playing?
Napoli vs AC Milan
What competition are Napoli and AC Milan playing in?
When is Napoli vs AC Milan?
19:45 GMT, Sunday 22nd November 2020
What stadium is hosting Napoli vs AC Milan?
Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
What channel is Napoli vs AC Milan on?
Napoli vs AC Milan Summary
Two of Italy’s Europa League participants have found themselves in much better league positions at the start of the 2020/21 Serie A season, with an unbeaten Milan side top after seven games, two points clear of Sassuolo in second, and Napoli close behind in third, three points behind Stefano Pioli’s side. Napoli felt hard done by when their scheduled tie away to Juventus did not take place after they were told not to travel by local health authorities, resulting in them being awarded a 3-0 defeat and a one point deduction. Those four points lost could be crucial come the business end of the campaign.
Milan have not played Champions League football since 2014, but their form since football resumed in June suggests they are a favourite to make the top four this season, and also potentially bring Juventus’ monopoly domination of Serie A to an end. Napoli have been the closest on most occasions to ending Juve’s imperious run of consecutive Scudetto wins, but with the Old Lady suffering so far this season, this may be the best chance they have had since the days of Diego Maradona, to claim the title.
Napoli Team News and Form
After two big wins in their opening two home games of the season (4-1 over Atalanta and 6-0 over Genoa), Napoli have since lost two in a row at the San Paolo without scoring, against AZ Alkmaar in Europe and to Sassuolo domestically. The empty home ground may have an adverse effect on the side, as they have won every game on their travels in all competitions so far this season.
Napoli have new injury concerns following the international break, with Elseid Hysaj and Amir Rrahmani both out after positive Covid tests, and Victor Osimhen may face a lengthy spell out after dislocating his shoulder on Nigeria duty in their 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone. After being doubtful, David Ospina and Tiemoue Bakayoko are set to be passed fit to play in this one.
AC Milan Team News and Form
Milan have been much like Napoli of late, in that they seem to prefer playing away from San Siro. They followed a heavy defeat to Lille in their last Europa League fixture with a draw at home to Hellas Verona in the last game before the international break, in which they trailed 2-0 after just 20 minutes. Their only away defeat in 2020 technically still came at their home venue, against Inter in February, so you have to go back to December 2019 to find the last match they lost away from San Siro, a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Atalanta. Much has changed since then, as Milan are still yet to lose a league game since football resumed in the summer.
Alessio Romagnoli has recovered from a minor injury picked up on Italy duty and will feature here, while fellow central defender Mateo Musacchio is close to returning after several months out. Rafael Leao will be absent for a few weeks though, after suffering a thigh injury while away with Portugal. Some of Milan’s key players, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Theo Hernandez and Alexis Saelemaekers, remained in Italy during the break and will be fresh for this clash.
Napoli Last 5 Matches
- Bologna (A) 0-1 Serie A win
- Rijeka (A) 1-2 Europa League win
- Sassuolo (H) 0-2 Serie A loss
- Real Sociedad (A) 0-1 Europa League win
- Benevento (A) 1-2 Serie A win
AC Milan Last 5 Matches
- Hellas Verona (H) 2-2 Serie A draw
- Lille (H) 0-3 Europa League loss
- Udinese (A) 1-2 Serie A win
- Sparta Prague (H) 3-0 Europa League win
- Roma (H) 3-3 Serie A draw
|12/07/20||NAP 2-2 ACM||Serie A|
|23/11/19||ACM 1-1 NAP||Serie A|
|29/01/19||ACM 2-0 NAP||Coppa Italia|
|26/01/19||ACM 0-0 NAP||Serie A|
|25/08/19||NAP 3-2 ACM||Serie A|
Napoli Top Scorers
Hirving Lozano (4 Goals) – The Mexican wide man is finally finding his feet in Naples after spending much of his first year in Italy as a bit-part player. He has already matched his scoring tally from last season in just six games, playing an integral part in their two home successes in the league, over Atalanta and Genoa, scoring a brace in both. He was also on the scoresheet during the international break for Mexico.
Dries Mertens (2 Goals) – Another attacking threat who netted during the international was Dries Mertens, whose free kick for Belgium helped them to a 2-0 victory over England. He has not scored for Napoli since game week two, but with Victor Osimhen now missing, he will more than likely be used in an advanced position here, after spending most of the season playing in behind.
AC Milan Top Scorers
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9 Goals) – Now at 39, it is remarkable how the Swedish legend still produces goals at this level, considering it appeared his career was dwindling away when he moved to the MLS after leaving Manchester United. A return to AC Milan, where he won the Scudetto in 2011, has seen him score 18 league goals in 23 games since joining in January, including eight in just five this season, making him the Serie A top scorer.
Hakan Calhanoglu (4 Goals) – After it seemed his time at Milan was ending following a stagnant period in his development, the 26-year-old Turkish international has gone through a renaissance in line with the Rossoneri’s upturn in form since June, playing an integral part in attacking midfield. He has yet to open his scoring account in Serie A this season, but has scored four in Europe.
- Napoli have not drawn a game in their last 16, winning ten and losing six.
- Milan are on their best run away from home since Carlo Ancelotti was in charge in 2005.
- Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso spent 13-years at Milan as a player, winning ten major honours, and managing the club between 2017-2019.
- Napoli have conceded just four goals this season (excluding the 3-0 forfeit over Juventus), the best in the division.
Andrew’s Betting Tips
This fixture at the San Paolo always produces goals. The meeting here in July saw four goals shared evenly in a thrilling 2-2 draw, and since Napoli returned to Serie A in 2007, 11 of the 13 meetings in Naples have produced over 2.5 goals, with 18 goals scored in the last four encounters.
The absence of fans has seen the number of bookings fall drastically in most leagues around Europe, and Serie A is no exception. Milan have received under 2.5 bookings in all of their last five games, while Napoli have not been given that many in any game this season. The last seven meetings between the two have seen under 5.5 cards awarded.
Napoli have shown fragility at home, losing their last two here, while Milan have been imperious away from San Siro, as they have not lost on their travels in 11 months. Milan to win is good value at 2/1 but a safer option for an accumulator is Milan draw no bet, considering the last time Pioli’s side fail to win away in the league was when they drew in this fixture in July.
*Odds as of time of writing (Friday 20th November 2020) and subject to change
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