Saturday, June 23, 2018

Prediction: Inter Milan vs Napoli

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Two of the top teams in the Serie A will meet this Sunday, as Inter Milan will host Napoli at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium. The hosts will try to take another step towards a potential Champions League berth next season, while Napoli need three points to keep themselves alive on the Serie A title race.

Inter Milan

Is it too soon to laber Inter Milan’s season as a disappointment? The team got off to an impressive start and they sat at the top of the standings midway through the campaign, but that sounds like a distant memory now. With W2 D2 L1 over their past five games, they fell all the way down to fifth place with 51 points and if the season ended today, they would miss out on the UEFA Champions League once again. They are in a tightly-contested race with both Lazio and AS Roma to finish either third or fourth, but they are not playing at a very high level at the moment. Even though they will get a massive boost with the return of Mauro Icardi upfront, they will need to improve on both sides of the ball if they want to get a positive result against one of the toughest teams in the Serie A. Will they be up to the standards?

Team News

Inter Milan are at full strength ahead of this game.

The one player who is doubtful is Andrea Ranocchia, who is dealing with a thigh problem. He will require a late-fitness test to determine his availability.

Napoli

Napoli decided to focus their entire energy in the Serie A title campaign and only time will tell if their strategy paid off. But after they were eliminated from the Coppa Italia, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, they have nothing to play but the league and currently sit at the top of the standings – although they don’t depend on themselves to remain there. Their 2-4 loss against AS Roma meant that Juventus have a golden chance to get past them if they win their postponed game against Atalanta, but Napoli are not likely to give up just like that. They have been one of the best away sides in Europe this season and they are also one of the top goalscoring sides in the league with 62 goals in just 27 matches. Time will tell if they can escape with the title, but they have enough weapons to mount a title challenge until the final weeks of the season.

Team News

Napoli will only have the absence of left-back Faouzi Ghoulam due to a knee injury.

Vlade Chiriches is doubtful due to a thigh problem, but he is expected to be available either way.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Inter have struggled of late, but they remain a composed team on the defensive end of the pitch. They have conceded just 11 goals in 14 home matches, keeping seven clean sheets.
  • However, Napoli are one of the best away teams in all of Europe. They have not lost in their last 26 away Serie A matches, while not conceding in their past five.
  • This will also be a dual of two of the best strikers in the league. Mauro Icardi (18 goals) for Inter, and Dries Mertens (17 goals, six assists) for Napoli.
  •  Napoli have lost only once in their last ten league encounters against Inter (W5, D4).
  • None of the last five encounters between Inter and Napoli have seen both sides score.

Conclusion

Everybody knows Napoli are one of the top scoring teams in the Serie A. However, they need to secure a positive result since they no longer depend on themselves to win the league title. Meanwhile, Inter need the three points to keep themselves alive on the race to secure a UEFA Champions League berth next season.

I expect this game to be quite open, similar to what happened between Roma and Napoli roughly one week ago. Therefore, I believe there will be over 2,5 goals scored.

Verdict: Over 2,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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