Milan left Manchester with a crucial away goal as a Simon Kjaer header salvaged a last-minute draw for the Rossoneri. They will face off against Napoli on Sunday night and will hope to build on their recent performances.
Milan will face off against their former fan-favourite player and manager Gennaro Gattuso. Gattuso has struggled to find consistency with his Napoli side this season, who are currently 6th in Serie A. They were knocked out of the Europa League round of 32, losing to Granada 3-2 on aggregate.
Seven players were absent from Milan’s midweek clash but Stefano Pioli will welcome back Ante Rebic, Theo Hernandez, and Hakan Calhanoglu to the squad. Davide Calabria will join Ismael Bennacer, Alessio Romagnoli, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Mario Mandzukic on the injured list, having suffered a minor injury against Manchester on Thursday. Gianluigi Donnarumma will start in goal against his home-town club as Fikayo Tomori and Simon Kjaer will be paired again at center-back after their solid partnership in the last match. Theo Hernandez will make his return at left-back, moving Diogo Dalot to the other side of Milan’s defense. Franck Kessie and Sandro Tonali will form the midfield as Samu Castillejo, Hakan Calhanoglu, Rade Krunic, and Rafael Leao will form the attack. Krunic played well on Thursday evening, providing the assist for Kjaer, while also adapting well to the left-wing role. Calhanoglu will look to bring his usual flair to the attack and hopefully add to his league-leading eight assists.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Hernandez, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Dalot; Kessie, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Krunic, Castillejo; Leao
I Partenopei have struggled to find consistency this season and this has certainly put uncertainty towards the future of Coach Gattuso. After 25 games they have 47 points but are still out of Champions League qualification. Although their season has been characterized by shaky performances and a lack of ideas from their coach, Napoli should really be higher in the standings. Having gotten seven out of twelve points in their last four matches, there is still hope for the Naples-side to achieve a top-four finish this season. They will also be without a fair share of players with Andrea Petagna, Fazio Ghoulam, Hirving Lozano, Kostas Monlas, and Amir Rrahmani missing out against Milan. However, their expected XI will still put up a tough game for Milan.
Probable Napoli XI (4-3-3): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Bakayoko, Ruiz; Politano, Zielinski, Insigne; Mertens
➤ Milan won the reverse fixture 3-1 with goals coming from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jens Petter Hauge.
➤ Milan’s last Serie A home win against Napoli was back in December 2014 and since then, they have played out two defeats followed by three draws.
➤ The last time Milan won both season meetings against their southern rivals was back in the 2010/11 season when they went on to lift the Scudetto.
➤ Napoli are winless away from home since January 10th, the last time they had a longer winless run dates back to September 2015, where they were winless for seven straight.
AC Milan form (all competitions): L D W D W D
Napoli (all competitions): L L W W D W
Napoli’s inconsistent away form will more than likely continue against Milan. The injuries between the two sides are pretty even, meaning this game will likely come down to the decisions of the managers.
Milan’s poor form at home and recent results against Napoli all lead this match to be quite the encounter. After their performance against England’s second-place team on Thursday, I expect this Milan side to come out with a win over Napoli. Expect a close encounter with a few goals.
Prediction: AC Milan 2-1 Napoli