Italian Serie A Preview: Napoli v Milan

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It would be the reunification of Gennaro Gattuso and Daniele Bonera reunite at the San Paolo for the Napoli-Milan Serie A clash.

This following the COVID-19 positive tests of both Stefano Pioli and his assistant.

Gatusso and Bonera are both former defender at the club and the Italian national team during their playing days. This offiers Bonera his first stint on the tourchline with the senior side , and it is coincidetally coming up against his former teammate.

Gennaro Gatusso already has a defensive headache ahead of Milan clash

Bonera wouldn’t have wished for a good debut as a coach in the Serie a with a trip to the grand old Stadio San Paolo with their head coach left self-isolating at home.

A win for the hosts will make them joint leaders with Milan on 17 points. The Rossoneri are going into this clash on the back of a long unbeaten run, which they would have lost against Hellas Verona at home before the international break but came down from 2-0 to secure a 2-2 draw at San Siro.

Meanwhile, Napoli is unbeaten in their last 11 encounters against Milan in Serie A – winning six of those. In fact, the Pertonopei are the last side to stay unbeaten against the Rossoneri in the top-flight for a sequence of 12 or more games – between 1974 and 1979.

For them to match that record run, Gatusso’s men will have to shatter Milan’s impressive unbeaten away record. So far, the visitors are unbeaten in their last 14 games away from home in all competitions, winning nine.

The last time the Milan club had a longer run was in 2002, which was a total of 15 matches under Carlo Ancelotti.

Napoli and Milan in a Serie A clash

So, it is expected that their unbeaten streak will not be broken easily with Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line. The Swede will want to correct his mistakes after missing two penalties already this season.

Ibrahimovic has netted in each of his first five Serie A games this season before his recent drought. He is the only player that has managed to score in their first six appearances of a campaign since Gabriel Batistuta in 1994-95, Christian Vieri in 2002-03, and ex-Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek during his explosive 2018-19 campaign with Genoa.

After scoring his 8th goal of the season in the League, Zlatan could once more save the day for Milan.

Napoli v Milan: Team news

Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen picked up a shoulder injury during the international break. He is likely to be replaced in the forward role by Dries Mertens. Meanwhile, both Amir Rrahmani and Elseid Hysaj have tested positive to Covid-19.

Absence of Rrahmani Hysaj will lead to a change in the defensive set up for Gatusso. So, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui aare expected to be on the flanks and trusted pair Kalidou Koulibaly and Kostas Manolas in the centre.

Like Osimhen, Rafael Leao will also be out of action for the Rosonerri after picking up a thigh injury while on international duty.

Milan won’t be missing him that much due to the return of Ante Rebic from an elbow injury he picked up in September. He is expected to replace the Portuguese international on the left-hand side of Milan’s attacking trident.

Meanwhile, defenders Mateo Musacchio and Alessio Romagnoli are also doubtful.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Ruiz, Bakayoko; Lozano, Elmas, Insigne; Mertens

AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Ibrahimovic

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