How can I preview Napoli vs Milan without looking back at the most spectacular win of last season’s campaign?
Believe it or not that was Milan’s first home win last season and it didn’t come until January. It is fair to say that this is a different Milan squad. The Rossoneri have won four out five at home this season, and within striking distance of Napoli who sits at the top of the table. Considering the circumstances it is safe to say Napoli is also a changed team, very capable of beating any club in the Serie A.
This game has and always will hold a special place for me because of my families’ ties to Napoli, and my pledged allegiance to Milan. Some of my fledgling first memories of calcio were the heated rivalry between Milan and Napoli in 1990 and the memory of Maradona, being the goat in all of the North. Those memories seem to want to make a come back with both teams able to challenge for the title. The real north vs south scudetto race if you ask me.
Flashback now to the last match between these two teams, Milan went down 3-0 at the Stadio San Paolo, and virtually ruled out the Rossoneri’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League. This lost must be avenged and can not be forgotten, so the stage is set for a great game.
Let’s talk matchups…
2 Strikers vs. Xmas Tree – With two strikers playing mid week against Siena, it makes me think Carletto will run out Borriello with Kaka and Dinho behind. I have to say I don’t agree with this formation against a team like Napoli who plays a hybrid three and at times five at the back. Milan need pace and quickness to crack this lineup and I would expect Pato and Borriello to log some time on the pitch together with some success.
Hamsik vs Rino – Rino is looking more and more like his old self, and many of the Azzuri supporters who called for his head should bow their head in shame because the Lion is finding his way back into the Milan midfield. Hamsik is an excellent player and the more and more I see him the more he reminds me of Nedved. Rino will have his hands full, but I can’t think of a better man for the job.
Lavezzi and Denis vs. Paolo and Bonera – Speedy skillful youngsters, against Milan’s wily veteran and the surprise defensive player of the season. Bonera is playing well and he will need to be steady and prepared for this attack that can be lethal and very capable of scoring goals. If Lavezzi and Denis stay of the score sheet, than Milan have a real chance of taking the points in this game, but I think that is pretty obvious isn’t it?
Maggio vs Janks – Maggio would have been a fantastic addition for Milan, but instead he chose Napoli and now Janks will have to make sure to keep him bottled up on the defensive side of the pitch. With Zambro playing Sunday and Wednesday I think it is Milan’s best interest to hold him back and push Janks into the attack. Make Maggio defend, and hopefully he will forget his responsibility to the attack.
As we all know I hate predictions, so I won’t make any, but it is safe to say that this a pivotal game in shaping the scudetto race this season. Lazio came to the San Siro in first place and Milan took care of business, let us hope Napoli experiences the same fate.