On Sunday, the Serie A champions AC Milan vs Napoli will meet at San Siro in a matchup between two of the three teams tied for first place in the league.
In the final encounter of the seventh round, right before the international break, Milan seeks its third consecutive triumph. At the same time, their opponents come in the second city, having recorded four consecutive victories.
Milan’s defense of the Scudetto, which they won in May after so many years of failure, has gotten off to a fantastic start, as they remain unbeaten this season and have won their past 22 Serie A games.
The Rossoneri are separated from the top of the standings by a goal differential inferior to that of both Atalanta and their most recent foe, Sampdoria and Atalanta, following consecutive domestic victories over the past two weeks. The Rossoneri followed their derby day victory over Inter with a 10-man comeback away to Sampdoria.
All about AC Milan vs Napoli Match:
- Date: 18th September 2022
- Time: 15:00 (ET)
- Venue: San Siro
- Live on: Fubo TV (7 days Free trial Available)
AC Milan vs Napoli Preview and Team News
Due to their separate injuries, AC Milan will be without long-term absentee Zlatan Ibrahimovic (ACL), attackers Ante Rebic and Divock Origi, and right-back Alessandro Florenzi. With Rafael Leao also sidelined, Stefano Pioli, will have to reassess his team’s offensive strategy this weekend due to a lack of attacking options.
Pioli will continue to deploy his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation with his club. Mike Maignan will be defended by the back four of Theo Hernandez, Simon Kjaer, Pierre Kalulu, and Davide Calabria. Maignan is a certain starter in goal. The full-backs will be urged to advance to add another body to the attack, especially Hernandez, who has the stamina to go up and down the field all day.
Pioli has placed a great deal of trust in Tommaso Pobega’s youthful shoulders this season, and it has paid off, as the 23-year-old turned in an impressive display midweek. He could retain his position with midfield mainstay Sandro Tonali in the double pivot.
Alexis Saelemaekers could be selected to replace Leao on the left side of AC Milan’s attack, with Junior Messias remaining on the right. Charles De Ketelaere will begin in the middle as a creative presence, with his tactical versatility coming in handy if things go awry and Pioli decides to reorganize his approach.
With Ibrahimovic and Origi sidelined due to injury, Olivier Giroud has ably led the attack, netting four goals across all competitions. Indeed, the 35-year-old is renowned for producing impressive performances and goals in San Siro’s most important matches. Consequently, he will be determined to add to his goal total here.
If Pioli opts for a 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree formation to compensate for Leao’s absence, Ismael Bennacer might replace Leao as the third midfielder, while Brahim Diaz and De Ketelaere are expected to operate as inverted attacking midfielders behind Giroud.
Like his colleague in the AC Milan dugout, Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti will be missing his top player, Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, who sustained a lesion on his right femoral bicep in last week’s 4-1 victory over Liverpool. Otherwise, the Napoli boss has no pressing injury concerns and is anticipated to have a healthy squad available for the trip to San Siro; he also expects to welcome back Hirving Lozano.
The visitors are likely to begin the match with a 4-3-3 formation. Alex Meret, who was criticized for his error-prone performances between the posts last season, has made a strong start to the new campaign, keeping four clean sheets in eight starts across all competitions.
This comes after Napoli was linked to several goalkeepers, notably Keylor Navas of Paris Saint-Germain, but failed to sign any. Mario Rui and Giovanni Di Lorenzo, the team’s captain, are scheduled to start as a full-back on Sunday. Again, Amir Rrahmani and Kim Min-Jae should constitute the Partenopei’s essential defensive partnership.
Tanguy Ndombele, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, is expected to return to the center of the midfield trio, allowing Spalletti to reshuffle his midfield. Elif Elmas and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will start on either side of the French maestro.
The attacking unit chooses itself. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a lock to start on the left wing and will play a crucial role in creating scoring chances and taking shots himself. In Osimhen’s absence, Giacomo Raspadori, who scored the game-winning goal against Spezia, is the favorite to be given another opportunity to shine in the middle.
On the right, Matteo Politano is expected to receive the nod. Giovanni Simeone and Piotr Zielinski provide Spalletti with more attacking options off the bench, with Zielinski averaging a goal contribution every 75 minutes.
AC Milan vs Napoli Predictable Lineups:
AC Milan Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Kjaer, Hernandez; Tonali, Pobega; Messias, De Ketelaere, Saelemaekers; Giroud
Napoli Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Rui; Zambo Anguissa, Ndombele, Elmas; Politano, Raspadori, Kvaratskhelia
READ MORE: In our Seria A Section
- AC Milan holds the upper hand in the recent head-to-head record between the two clubs, having won three of the last seven matches against Napoli (D2 L2).
- Stefano Pioli’s squad is unbeaten in their past 22 Serie A contests (W15 D7). This is their longest win streak since January 2021, when they went 27 games without a loss.
- The hosts have won six consecutive games at home while preserving four clean sheets. The only time they had a longer winning streak was in 2013 when they won eight consecutive games, a streak that was stopped by Sunday’s opponents, Napoli.
- Napoli has won eight of their last ten Serie A matches and has kept a clean sheet in six of their previous nine Serie A encounters.
- AC Milan has scored at least twice in each of their last four Serie A home games.
AC Milan 2-3 Napoli
Both sides are committed to playing free-flowing football in order to delight their fans. Thus this match should be enjoyable. This season, both teams have scored in six of AC Milan’s eight games, including each of their past four. Napoli appears to be in a favorable position to win the Scudetto this season due to an unusual and fruitful squad turnover.
At San Siro, Napoli has an outstanding opportunity to make an early statement against championship rivals AC Milan. Without their primary x-factor, it will be difficult for the home team to score goals without Rafael Leao. This is music to the ears of Napoli, who, according to anticipated goals, has the top offensive in Serie A. (12.6 xG).
Although the visitors will lose Victor Osimhen, Luciano Spalletti’s squad is better balanced and has greater depth. The away team’s scorching onslaught should be too much for Stefano Pioli’s squad to handle, and as a result, we predict a 3-2 victory for Napoli.