Napoli vs Inter Milan
Serie A is back after the Christmas break and Inter Milan embarks on the second half of the season in top spot, ahead of Juventus on goal difference.
It looks like a two horse race, and I Nerazzurri have a good chance of wrestling the Scudetto from the grip of the Old Lady for the first time since 2011. I Bianconeri is aiming for a record ninth consecutive title, and while Lazio is in the chase, six points behind with a game in hand, Antonio Conte’s Inter is the biggest threat to the Turin club’s dominance.
And that all makes Serie A: Napoli vs Inter Milan one of the biggest games in European football this weekend. Inter needs to keep the pressure up, while Napoli, currently in eight place, is trying to gather some momentum in a stop-start season, with a new head coach at the helm.
Inter face an old foe
Since being sensationally sacked by Napoli, Carlo Ancelotti has taken over as head coach at Everton where he has made an immediate impression, with two wins and then a narrow defeat to Manchester City. Next up he has a Mersey derby in the FA Cup to contend with and he seems perfectly at ease back in the Premier League.
Ancelotti’s dismissal came as a surprise, within hours of Gli Azzurri securing a Champions League Round of 16 place, but the board in Naples moved quickly, and former AC Milan boss and Rossoneri legend Gennaro Gattuso has been appointed to lead Napoli into the second half of the season.
Gattuso’s arrival adds extra spice to this fixture, revered by Milan fans he’s certainly not on Inter’s Christmas card list! And the fierce competitor will have his team fired up to face his old enemy.
Gli Azzurri have been missing Marek Hamsik more than they might have hoped after their all time leading scorer departed for China in the close season. And Gattuso will need to work out how to get the most out of midfield aces Piotr Zielinski and Jose Callejon. With Dries Merten and Lorenzo Insigne in the side Napoli have plenty of creative muscle but, with just six goals, Arek Milik is the top scorer.
They picked up a fortunate three points before the break when a 94th minute own goal courtesy of Pedro Obiang gave Gattuso’s team a 1-2 win away to Sassuolo, and the new boss has acknowledged the size of the task in hand, saying: “We need to work hard, win back points and come through this tricky period. The aim is to recoup points and get back into the Champions League positions.”
Lukaku on a hot streak of form
I Nerazzurri approached the Christmas break with a home match against Genoa, which they came through with flying colours, winning 4-0. Romelu Lukaku scored twice to take his season tally to 12. Only Lazio’s prolific hit man Ciro Immobile has more (17).
Head coach Antonio Conte has revitalised the Belgian hit man after he endured a tough time at Manchester United, and he has thrived alongside Lautaro Martinez who has eight goals so far. And Conte has options to support his main striker. Sebastiano Esposito was alongside Lukaku in the win over Genoa and he was also on the score sheet.
The head to head Napoli vs Inter Milan results couldn’t be a lot closer. In the 40 meetings since 1993 Gli Azzurri have won 15 to Inter’s 16 and there have been nine draws.
In the last meeting, the penultimate fixture of the 2018/19 season, Napoli thumped Inter 4-1, with Spanish attacking midfielder Fabian Ruiz scoring a brace.
But this season Inter have been in superb form on the road, winning seven and drawing one of their eight away fixtures.
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