Story behind the game
The Christmas break has ended and teams return this weekend for Serie A fixtures. Napoli and Inter Milan will face each other at the Stadio San Paolo Monday evening. Two clubs which are trending in different directions this season will enter this match having a lot at stake.
For Napoli, they are coming off a win against Sassuolo which came at the end of the game to snap their eight-game winless streak. Napoli entered their season expecting to compete for the Scudetto against Juventus, however, that has not been the case to date. The club has gone through a series events which eventually led to the firing of Carlo Ancelotti. He has since been replaced by Gennaro Gattuso and the ex-AC Milan manager has done a decent job in his short time. Although he lost his first match, he won his second. The club has seemed to found a spark under Gattuso and will look to use that motivation in their match against Inter.
As for Inter, they find themselves in first place on goal differential and have started the season in the right direction. The Nerazzurri will look to continue their strong performance as the visiting team as they aim for their eighth win away from home. In their recent match before the holidays, Inter defeated Genoa 4-0 in lopsided victory which saw Romelu Lukaku’s continued success under manager Antonio Conte. Lukaku scored two goals with his second goal coming outside the box with an amazing shot. Napoli will need to be prepared in this match since they will be without Kalidou Koulibaly which could make this more difficult for the Partenopei.
Expect an exciting match Monday night as one club looks to turn their season around while the other looks to keep pace for a Scudetto.
Suspensions and Injuries
Napoli: Kevin Malcuit (Doubtful), Faouzi Ghoulam (Doubtful), Nikola Maksimovic (Doubtful), Kalidou Koulibaly (Doubtful), Dries Mertens (Doubtful)
Inter Milan: Kwadwo Asamoah (Doubtful), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Doubtful)
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret – M.Rui, Luperto, Manolas, D.Lorenzo – Zielinski, Ruiz, Allan – Insigne, Callejon, Milik.
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic – De Vrij, Godin, Skriniar – Biraghi, Candreva, Brozovic, Sensi, Gagliardini – Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez.
Lukaku continues to impress this season as the forward stepped up for Inter in their recent match against Genoa. With Lautaro Martinez missing the game due to suspension, Lukaku scored two goals with his first one being the game winner. This season, he has 12 goals and one assist and continues to be a key reason for Inter’s success. Expect the forward to have a good match against a squad that has struggled to find consistency this season and has shown to be weak in the backend as well.
Napoli has struggled to find wins this season as they sit in 8th place and are five points behind Cagliari for a spot into Europa League. While it has been a season of many lows, Napoli finally ended their winless streak with a win against Sassuolo. Although the club has struggled to find scoring, Arkadiusz Milik has had a good season this year and leads the team in scoring. The striker has scored in five of their last six matches and has six goals this season. While his scoring streak ended in their recent match against Sassuolo, the forward has shown good form and has been an important part of Napoli’s season this year. The forward will once again need to step up in this match if Napoli are to have a chance of winning against Inter.