Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 17/20
AC Milan’s top 4 hopes have been severely damaged by the run of three games without a win and they now need to defeat title chasing Napoli if they want to keep their Champions League dream alive. The Azzurri, on the other hand, are four points behind leaders Juventus and any further slip up would probably mean the end of their title hopes.
This season has been a real rollercoaster ride for AC Milan, as the club invested serious money into summer signings, but struggled to live up to pre-season expectations. The Rossoneri soldier Gennaro Gattuso eventually brought serious improvement and an amazing run of results in the first few months of the new year saw them revive their top 4 chances, but last few weeks have been largely disappointing for the Stadio San Siro outfit.
While they were eliminated from Europa League at the hands of Arsenal, AC Milan picked up just two points from league fixtures against Juventus, Inter Milan and Sassuolo, meaning they head into the final stretch eight points behind Champions League positions. What is more, the Rossoneri face a genuine selection headache ahead of the high-profile clash with Napoli, so we are far from convinced that Gennaro Gattuso’s men will be able to end the barren run this weekend.
Key defenders Alessio Romagnoli and Leonardo Bonucci miss out through injury and suspension respectively, whereas full-back Andrea Conti is sidelined as well.
Despite leading the Serie A title chase for large periods of the current campaign, everything suggests that Napoli will finish yet another season just behind champions Juventus. There is still seven games to go until the campaign ends, but three slip ups in last five games mean that the Azzurri are now huge four points behind the Bianconeri. Napoli will have a chance to close the gap when the two sides square off in Turin on 22nd April, but they’ve got few more difficult ties to negotiate either side of the potential title decider.
It was always going to be difficult for the Azzurri to keep the rich vein of form for so long, but it has to be said that the record of 77 points from 31 games is quite impressive, it’s just that Juventus have once again had a near-perfect league campaign. Having done so well up to until few weeks ago, Napoli will give their best to try and win all the remaining fixtures and secure the first league trophy since 1990, but that looks a very difficult task indeed from this perspective.
With left-back Mario Rui banned, Elseid Hysaj will move to the other flank, while veteran Christian Maggio starts on the right.
Key Factors to Consider
- Both sides struggling for form at the moment
- AC Milan won just one of last four fixtures at home (D2 L1)
- Napoli unbeaten in last 28 Serie A matches on the road (W23 D5)
- The Azzurri conceded just 2 goals in last nine away games in the league
- Napoli won five of last six meetings with AC Milan (D1)
AC Milan’s impressive run of results have come to an end and with two key defenders missing, they will struggle to contain the Napoli attackers. The Azzurri have been absolutely outstanding on Serie A travels in recent years and they are now searching for sixth triumph in last seven matches vs the Rossoneri.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 17/20
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