Napoli and Milan are both looking like they are starting to put together a run of form. Napoli have beaten Bologna and then followed this on by putting Fiorentina to the sword in a shock win this weekend. Milan have beaten Roma, Real Madrid and in the last minutes of the game Chievo. This and getting two draws before these games means they are unbeaten in five.
Neither Napoli nor Milan have started the season well and this has seen the Neapolitans sack coach Roberto Donadoni and replace him with Walter Mazzarri in recent weeks, whilst Milan’s Coach Leonardo has been under constant pressure and many predict he could be the next managerial casualty of the season. The Azzurri’s ship had been steadied by Mazzarri and the inconsistent Neapolitans will look to continue this run at home to Milan. Leonardo will take the Rossoneri to the Stadio San Paolo knowing that a win here will be the next step in the transition from floundering apprentice to promising young coach, this is not something that he nor his Milan side can afford to pass up.
Napoli changed formation against Fiorentina this weekend from the usual 3-5-2 to a 3-4-3 again showing that they are not scared of going forward and attacking teams. If they lined up against a strong Fiorentina side and won with this line up then there is no doubt that the same eleven will start in front of their home crowd on Wednesday. The idea will be to attack and expose Milan early using Lavezzi and Quagliarela supported by the workmanship of Hamsik. The Azzurri will also try and get most of the midfield to defend from the front and then use forwards to counter once their opponents attack has been broken down – a tactic that was employed to good effect in Florence. Napoli have got goals in them as Hamsik is top scorer with five and complements the attack, whilst Lavezzi and Quagliarella have two and three respectively.
26 De Sanctis
2 Grava – 96 Contini – 77 Rinaudo /p>
11 Maggio – 5 Pazienza – 23 Gargano – 6 Aronica
7 Lavezzi – 27 Quagliarella
Milan will most likely remain unchanged for their trip to Naples as they too are coming off the back of a victory. A late and fortuitous victory it may have been, but three points is three points especially to Leonardo at the moment. Dida will remain in goal after his heroics against Chievo, and it is possible he will be enjoying the post match reports for once. The forward line is still a slight concern for Milan, excluding Alexandre Pato, as neither Ronaldinho nor Huntelaar have been setting the league on fire, and though a gradual improvement for Ronaldinho has been noticed, it seems that Leonardo may see more playing time as the solution for his misfiring Dutchman. Should the ex Ajax star be able to recapture some of his potency from his days in the Eredivisie then this could be the missing link in Milan’s under performing side. Progress is being made however, and this can be seen in the new 4-3-3 line up that is likely to face Napoli on Wednesday. Leonardo will be aware that Nesta’s goal flurry is not a staple diet.
44 Oddo – 13 Nesta – 33 Thiago Silva – 77 Antonini
21 Pirlo – 10 Seedorf –16 Flamini
7 Pato – 11 Huntelaar – 80 Ronaldinho
Ever since the days of Marco Van Basten, Gullit, Maradona and Fernando De Napoli this fixture has always captured the imagination. The current re-birth of the Neapolitans has seen a new breed of attacking talent grace the huge structure that is the Stadio San Paolo. Add to this a Milan team in any shape, form or league position and you will always have a fantastic and nostalgic game of football. Looking at the form book of both sides and you would find it hard to pick a winner, not necessarily for the fact that they are both rampant in destroying opponents but more for the fact of the unpredictable nature of their victories and performances. Napoli were superb in Florence surprisingly, whilst prior to this they have only been constant in being inconsistent. Milan pulled it back from the death against Chievo, and but for goalkeeping errors, late winners and favourable referring decisions, it could be a very different state of affairs in the Milan camp over the last few weeks. One thing is for sure, it promises to be a classic