The Serie A is back after the FIFA World Cup 2022 break
On Wednesday night, Italian Serie A is back again with a banger of a clash as league leaders Napoli lock horns against Inter Milan for the final fixture of Matchday 16 at the SanSiro/Stadio Giuseppe Meazza Stadium.
Inter Milan have had their ups and downs throughout this season and are currently sitting at 5th position in the table. They can overcome the situation and throw the league wide open if they upset the team from Naples. The last time they were in action was on 13th November, 2022 as they defeated Atalanta in a valiant 3-2 victory away at The Bergamo courtesy of a brace from the ever-reliant Edin Dzeko and an own goal by Jose Luis Palomino.
Napoli enter this fixture being the only club in Europe’s top five leagues to remain unbeaten and are comfortably leading in the race for The Scudetto being 8 points ahead of their rivals AC Milan who are chasing them. The last time they were in action in Serie A was on 12th November, 2022 when they chalked off a scrappy performance to see off Udinese by 3-2 at Stadio Diego Armano Maradona Stadium courtesy of Victor Osimhen, Elijif Elmas and Piotr Zielenski.
Kick-off: Thursday, 5th January, 01:30 am (IST) ; 08:00 pm, Wednesday, 4th January (GMT)
Inter Milan form (all competition): W-W-W-D-W
Napoli form (all competition): W-L-W-W-W
Player to watch
Although Simone Inzaghi has various options to rotate in his frontline, Dzeko still happens to be the most potent threat for him. A veteran striker by all standards, his experience coupled with the number of goals he has in his bag has helped The Nerazzurri and Inzaghi’s side throughout this ongoing season. In the Italian Serie A season 2022/23, Edin Dzeko has played 10 matches (plus 5 as a sub). He has had 14 shots on target from a total of 28 shots and has scored 6 goals (6.06 xG). Edin Dzeko averages 17 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 74%, and has 2 assists.
Luciano Spalletti will be returning to the San Siro with the league’s top scorer Victor Osimhen looking to capitalize on his sensational form before the World Cup break. In the Italian Serie A season 2022/23, Victor Osimhen has played 10 matches (plus 1 as a sub). He has had 15 shots on target from a total of 35 shots and has scored 9 goals (8.64 xG). Victor Osimhen averages 12 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 74%, and has 2 assists.
- Inter Milan have had a respectable record against the Neapolitans winning 68 out of the 152 matches that they have played against each other while Napoli getting the better of their northern rivals 46 times.
- Napoli have failed to win in their last 4 trips to the Giuseppe Meazza as Inter won in each of those 4 occasions.
- Inter Milan and Napoli scored at least three goals in eight Serie A matches at home in 2022 – more than any other team in the competition.
Injury and team news
Inter Milan have some injury concerns as Marcelo Brozovic will be unavailable for this fixture. He suffered a calf strain which could keep him out for the remainder of this month. Lautaro Martinez has returned to the camp after his World Cup triumph with Argentina but it does not seem like Inzaghi will be giving him a nod ahead off Romelo Lukaku who has been training since his early departure from the World Cup. Francesco Acerbi has been a regular starter for Inter in the recent weeks ahead of Stefan De Vrij while Andre Onana will be in the goal for the Nerazzurri in place of Samir Handanovic.
Napoli will most probably be missing out on Kim-Min Jae in the heart of the defence who was suffering from a calf injury since the World Cup and we might likely see a pairing of Rrahmani and Juan Jesus in defence. Elmas will be a likely miss too as he is still suffering from a thigh injury which might see Anguissa starting in his place in midfield.
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Inter Milan: 68
Inter Milan predicted lineup (3-5-2):
Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lukaku
Napoli predicted lineup (4-3-3):
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia
This is going to be a feisty encounter with both these sides looking to make a grand return to the Serie A. It’s all to play for as Napoli are chasing for their first Scudetto in more than 30 years dating back to the days of Diego Maradona while Inter will have to play at their highest level to gain back their Champions League spot and also close the gap on Napoli. With both these sides having a lot of attacking potential, a stalemate is never a possibility and it seems like a draw is going to be a legitimate result.
Prediction: Inter Milan 1-1 Napoli