Napoli are scheduled to host league leaders AC Milan in Sunday’s Serie A clash from the Stadio San Paolo.
Gennaro Gattuso’s side have made a good start to the season and they are presently third in the standings with 14 points, just three adrift of Milan.
The Naples outfit have managed five wins and two losses to date, but one of those defeats came through a forfeit against Juventus.
As a result, the club were penalised an additional point as well, but they are due to appeal the decision at CONI.
Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are unbeaten at the top of the standings with five wins and two draws.
They have, however, won just one of the previous three league games. Stefano Pioli’s side drew 2-2 against Hellas Verona earlier this month.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a 93rd-minute equaliser to salvage a point, but he had missed a penalty prior to that.
Napoli, on the other hand, won 1-0 at Bologna before the international break. Victor Osimhen scored his maiden club goal in the 23rd minute.
The teams have met on exactly 150 occasions and Milan have had the upper hand with 57 wins to Napoli’s 44.
In recent times, the match has witnessed several stalemates. Four of the previous five meetings have finished in draws.
Milan are winless against Napoli in the past 11 league encounters. Their previous victory came during the 2014/15 season.
The Rossoneri have not won at the Stadio San Paolo since October 2010 when Gattuso was in their ranks as a player.
Ibrahimovic was one of the goalscorers for Milan in the 2-1 victory. They did the double over Napoli during that season.
Napoli are expected to be without four first-team stars. Amir Rrahmani and Elseid Hysaj are in self-isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus. David Ospina is out of contention with an unspecified muscular problem, while Victor Osimhen is undergoing physiotherapy after dislocating his shoulder on international duty.
Pioli has an almost fit squad to choose from. Rafael Leao remains the only absentee after picking up a thigh injury on international duty with the Portugal Under 21s. However, neither Pioli nor his assistant Giacomo Murelli will be on the dugout on Sunday after they tested positive for COVID-19.
Napoli (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Tiemoue Bakayoko; Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne; Andrea Petagna
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma; Diogo Dalot, Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Franck Kessie, Ismael Bennacer; Alexis Saelemaekers, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ante Rebic; Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The absence of Osimhen upfront is definitely a blow for the hosts, but they still have plenty of quality attacking options in their ranks, who can make the difference.
Hence, the Rossoneri are up for a tricky test on Sunday. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has shown no signs on slowing down despite turning 39 earlier this year and he will be key to them getting something out of the game.
The last three meetings have finished in stalemates and we are fancying a similar outcome.
Napoli 1-1 AC Milan
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and Worldfootball.net
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