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Prediction: Napoli vs AC Milan

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: bet365

Having failed to beat Pescara on the road in their opening game, Napoli will be under pressure to defeat AC Milan at their Stadio San Paolo and thus avoid falling too far behind champions Juventus. The Rossoneri enjoyed a hard-fought triumph over Torino last weekend and, therefore, arrive in Naples in good spirits.

Napoli

While heavy investment in the playing squad has paid off in a sense that Napoli are now regular in Champions League group stages, the Azzurri have yet to mount a serious title challenge in Italian Serie A. They are unfortunate to have one of the best ever Juventus teams vying for the same trophy, and it remains to be seen whether they can end the Bianconeri’s domination this season. Napoli chiefs could do nothing to prevent star striker Gonzalo Higuain from joining their title rivals as Juventus matched his release clause, but they should have done better in finding him a proper replacement. Granted, his last year’s back-up Manolo Gabbiadini and summer recruit Arkadiusz Milik both have plenty of quality and potential, but the question is can either score 20+ league goals in a single season. Besides the Polish forward, Emanuele Giaccherini, Piotr Zielinski and Lorenzo Tonelli were the only other footballers to arrive at Stadio San Paolo this summer, although at least Slovakian superstar Marek Hamsik pledged his future to the club by signing a new deal. Napoli came from two goals behind to earn one point at Pescara, and they will have to do a lot better if they want to beat in-form AC Milan.

Team News

After scoring a brace as a second-half substitute, Dries Mertens is expected to start against AC Milan, with Lorenzo Insigne set to make way.

Jorginho returns to the side from a suspension, but Lorenzo Tonelli, Emanuele Giaccherini and Omar El Kaddouri are out injured.

AC Milan

Everybody at AC Milan has been in a state of limbo as talks were going on between old and new owners, meaning that coach Vincenzo Montella couldn’t properly reinforce the squad in the summer transfer window. Given the situation, the Rossoneri did well to recruit Gianluca Lapadula, Jose Sosa, Gustavo Gomez and Leonel Vangioni, but the key pieces of business was keeping hold of star striker Carlos Bacca. It is not as if the Colombian did not have offers to leave San Siro, but he only wanted to join a club that compete in the Champions League, and having failed to do so, he remained at AC Milan. The fans could see just how important he has become to the team as Bacca scored a hat-trick to help the Rossoneri record a 3-2 triumph over Torino, while Gianluigi Donnarumma played a part as well, having saved an injury-time penalty. The win did come at a cost as Gabriel Paletta was sent off and Andrea Bertolacci suffered an injury, but that was not such a big price to pay for an important triumph over direct rivals for top 6 positions. AC Milan now head to Stadio San Paolo in much better mood than the opposition and they will be hoping to bring at least one point back to San Siro.

Team News

Gabriel Paletta is banned for one match, whereas Andrea Bertolacci is unlikely to return for another month after suffering a muscle injury.

Summer recruit Gustavo Gomez will replace the Argentine defender, whereas Suso looks set to be preferred to Giacomo Bonaventura.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Napoli are unbeaten in last five home games vs AC Milan (W3 D2)
  • Only one team scored in three of their last four meetings
  • Napoli won last six home fixtures in all competitions
  • Milan won two of last three away games in the league
  • Bacca scored six goals in last four Serie A outings

Conclusion

Napoli have no choice but to attack from the off as they look to make amends for the disappointing performance against Pescara and they definitely have enough attacking potential to hurt AC Milan’s weakened back line. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are also quite impressive up front, so we are backing both teams to score here.

Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: bet365

Thu 25 Aug, 2016
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