Napoli will look to throw a spanner into Inter Milan’s Champions League hopes when the sides meet at the Stadio San Paulo in the Serie A on Sunday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have nothing to play for, having secured their 2nd place and the subsequent UCL spot already. They currently have 76 points from 36 games and are out of all cup competitions.
While this could result in little motivation, the Partenopei would like to put on a display for their fans in the final home game of the season and will prefer not to lose the bragging rights to a potential rival next season. Further, they are coming into the game on the back of a 2-1 win away at SPAL in the previous game.
Their visitors are currently 3rd in the Serie A table and in the hunt for a Champions League spot. Luciano Spalletti’s men have picked up 66 points from 36 games, 10 points adrift of their opponents.
They are currently one point ahead of Atalanta in 4th and 4 points ahead of AC Milan and AS Roma with 2 games to go. Thus, a win would confirm their top 4 finish and spare their supporters a nervous 90 minutes in the final game of the season. The Nerazzurri broke their 3-match winless streak with a home win against bottom dwellers Chievo in the previous game.
In terms of team news, Ancelotti is set to be without Lorenzo Insigne, who is ruled out with a muscle injury. He joins Nikola Maksimovic and Vlad Chiriches on the injury front
Meanwhile, Spalletti is set to welcome Danilo D’Ambrosio and Marcelo Brozovic back from suspension. Both Stefan de Vrij and Matteo Politano are doubts for the game while Sime Vrsaljko is a long-term absentee.
In terms of head-to-head, Inter have failed to win at the Stadio San Paulo since 1997, a run lasting 12 Serie A games. The last 10 meetings between the sides tell a more even story with Napoli picking up 3 wins to Inter’s 2 while the rest ended in draws.
In fact, 2 of the last 3 meetings between the sides ended as a stalemate. Further, the visiting side have kept a clean sheet against Napoli in 5 of the last 7 meetings across all competitions. However, the Partenopei boast a phenomenal record against their visitors at home, scoring a minimum of 3 goals in 4 of their last 5 meetings at the Stadio San Paulo.
Considering form, Ancelotti’s men have scored in each of their last 12 league games, with 9 of those games witnessing 3 or more goals from the Naples side. Further, they have won 4 of their last 5 games in the Serie A and are in a good moment.
On the other hand, Inter are unbeaten in their last 7 league games, although Spalletti’s side picked up just 3 wins in that run. Nevertheless, they have scored a minimum of 3 goals in 3 of their last 4 away matches in the Serie A and will look to continue the momentum.
Thus, Inter have all the right reasons to register a rare win at Naples but this promises to be a close game and a likely draw in the end.
Napoli Predicted XI: Meret; Malcuit, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski; Mertens, Milik
Inter Predicted XI: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Miranda, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Candreva, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi