Saturday, December 4, 2021

Prediction: Inter Milan vs Napoli

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 27/25

Bookmaker: Unibet

Inter Milan and Napoli will face each other on Sunday, in the 13th round of the 2021-22 season in the Serie A, at the famous San Siro stadium in Milan. Even though there are other high-profile matches in the Italian top flight this weekend as well (Lazio play host to Juventus and AC Milan travel to play Fiorentina), this one is undoubtedly the derby of the round, given the respective form and table positions of the two teams.

Inter Milan

In other circumstances, 25 points from the opening 12 matches wouldn’t be a bad start for the defending champions, but as it is, that tally is seven short of the top two, which incidentally include the visitors in this match and Inter’s city rivals, AC Milan. Simone Inzaghi’s team, therefore, sit third, three points above Atalanta in fourth and four points above Lazio in fifth.

Over in the Champions League, Inter are in a very difficult group again, featuring Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sheriff Tiraspol. After four matches, they sit second to the Spanish giants with a two-point deficit, and just one point more than Sheriff in third – their worries are far from over, and the situation was actually a lot worse than that until recently.

Inter’s last six matches in all competitions consist of two 3-1 triumphs over Sheriff, a 1-1 draw at home against Juventus, a 0-2 win away to Empoli, and a 2-0 win at home against Udinese, and a 1-1 draw in the city derby ahead of the international break.

Though Inter were given the lead in the city derby by former Milan star Hakan Calhanoglu from the spot in the 11th minute, Stefan de Vrij put the ball past his own goalkeeper just six minutes later.

Team News

Fullback Matteo Darmian and striker Edin Dzeko were both substituted after injury complaints during the Milan derby, and while Darmian has reportedly returned to training since, the experienced Bosnian is likely to miss out. Defenders Alessandro Bastoni and De Vrij, as well as forward Alexis Sanchez, picked up injuries on international duty and are doubts for this clash.

Inter will, of course, still be without attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is yet to return to playing football after the cardiac arrest he suffered at the Euros this year.

Napoli

The season started unimaginably well for Napoli. They won eight Serie A matches straight, with AS Roma being the first team to get a point against them on October 24th. They are yet to taste defeat, and at the moment, it’s a tight race between them and Milan at the top of the table with 32 points each. Napoli lead on goal-difference due to their defence being the tightest in the league by far – they’ve conceded only four goals in 12 matches.

Luciano Spalletti’s team top Group D in the Europa League as well, sitting one point ahead of Legia Warsaw, two ahead of Leicester City, and three ahead of Spartak Moscow. The two teams to progress to the knockout stages will likely be decided in the final round, on December 9th, when Leicester come to Naples.

Napoli’s last-six run in all competitions include a 3-0 win over Legia, the goalless draw against Roma mentioned above, a 3-0 win at home over Bologna, a 0-1 away triumph over Salernitana, a 1-4 win over Legia in Warsaw, and a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Verona.

Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid boss Diego, scored for the visitors after 13 minutes, and Giovanni Di Lorenzo equalized five minutes later. Napoli were unable to find a winner, despite dominating the largest part of the contest which ended with Verona having two players sent off.

Team News

Napoli have confirmed that midfielder Diego Demme has tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine testing procedure and is consequently forced to self-isolate, despite suffering no symptoms.

Other than that, Spalletti has no selection worries, and that’s obviously an area where he has an advantage over Inzaghi.

Conclusion

This is likely to prove a tough contest for both sides. Neither will be rushing forward too much, and barring an early red card or some other occurrence to drastically disrupt the balance, there should be too many goals either. A draw feels like the likeliest outcome that wouldn’t be seen as negative by either team.

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 27/25

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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