Struggle In The San Siro For Serie A UnderachieversStats
AC Milan v Napoli
AC Milan host fellow Serie A underachievers Napoli on Sunday with both sides quickly running out of time to make any significant impact on the Italian top flight this season.
Following last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Genoa, it’s now just one win in seven games for Milan with Filippo Inzaghi’s side languishing in seventh place, a mammoth 14 points behind leaders and champions Juventus after 14 games. In fact, since getting their season off to the perfect start with two wins on the trot, that seemed to herald a bright future under the guidance of the club’s former striker, the Rossoneri have claimed just three victories in their 12 subsequent games.
French international Jeremy Menez has scored seven league goals for Milan this season to top their goalscoring charts, with Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda just one goal behind him.
Rafa Benitez has endured a frustrating season in the dugout for Napoli, as despite being unbeaten in ten games overall and with only one league defeat in their last 12, the side’s inability to convert draws into wins is proving a huge stumbling block to their progress. Thursday’s 3-0 win over Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League saw them top their group to reach the last 32 and also brought an end to a run of four successive stalemates for the former Liverpool boss and his players.
They’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four Serie A outings however and remain three points off the final Champions League spots in the table ahead of this weekend’s action.
Jose Callejon is the club’s top scorer to date with Serie A strikes to his name this term, with Gonzalo Higuain on seven league goals and nine in all competitions.
Midfield duo Sulley Muntari and Nigel de Jong are both doubtful for Milan although the latter is expected to shake off a knock in time to take some part. Inzaghi over has a trio of defensive headaches with none of Mattia De Sciglio (heel), Alex (muscle problem) or Ignazio Abate expected to recover from their respective injuries in time to feature.
Benitez has a couple of defensive issues to contend with himself as Juan Zuniga is expected to miss out while Kalidou Koulibaly is rated doubtful and must prove his fitness before kick-off. Forwards Lorenzo Insigne and Michu are both sidelined for the foreseeable future too.
Napoli did the double over Milan last season, with a 3-1 win on their own patch in February to compliment their 2-1 win at the San Siro last September, with Higuain scoring three times across the two meetings. Milan have failed to win any of the last six clashes between the teams with both teams scoring in five of those six games. Milan have had a player sent off in three of the last five games between the clubs too.
There’s very little to separate the sides in the match betting odds with Milan at 17/10 and the visitors at 8/5, which suggests the draw may be the way to go even at a relatively short 9/4.
With two patched up rearguards on show I’d definitely take both teams to score at 7/10 for a sixth time in seven encounters between the two though. Argentina hitman Higuain is the pick of the bunch to net anytime at 6/5 for Napoli while Menez looks a great price at 23/10 for the hosts with the pair priced at 9/2 and 6/1 respectively to score first.