The resounding Champions League draw put Milan and Napoli in front of the quarterfinals, placing the two Italians on the most affordable side of the board, along with Inter. There is 75% to see an Italian in the Champions League final.

The first act of the exciting challenge between the Rossoneri and the Neapolitans will be held at San Siro. If there was no history in the league, with the reigning Italian champions slid to -22 points from the Azzurri, the next winners of the Scudetto, the Rossoneri DNA has undoubtedly European connotations. In addition, after the recent 0-4 conceded by Napoli in Serie A, everything seems to be in balance again. Who will prevail?


The crazy season of the reigning Italian champions continues not to have a regularity of the marching roadmap. Flashes of great football and then sensational moments of fogging. The Pioli guys really seem to be concentrating all their energies on the European front, at the cost of trudging more in the league. On the other hand, right in the double match with Tottenham, in the round of 16, Milan hit a fundamental redemption after facing the most delicate moment of their season, coming out the winner with merit and grit from the duel with the English. And again, the (unfortunate) draw for 0-0 gained at home with Empoli is emblematic, which made the umpteenth chance to restore a sort of regularity is emblematic: Milan won just one of the last 5 games in Serie A, having slipped to -22 points from the summit held by Napoli.

It is precisely in Naples, however, that the Milanese team has won the only success of the last month and a half. And what a success! On a dream night, the Rossoneri smashed Maradona with a 0-4 round, annihilating the leader and rekindling some hopes in the qualification-Champions perspective. If before there seemed to be no escape in the duel against Napoli, now the all-Italian European challenge seems to have a new balance.

For the challenge against the Neapolitans, Kalulu remains in doubt, injured in the national team and already absent in the last outings. Pioli will replace him with the reliable Thiaw in his 4-2-3-1. In front there is the trident composed of Diaz wide on the right, Leao on the left and Giroud tip, with Bennacer as an atypical high vertex, able to thicken the midfield and succeed in the high pressing on Lobotka.


The scorching setback recorded by the Azzurri at home against Milan had no value in view of the Scudetto: Napoli promptly recovered in Lecce, winning 1-2 and returning to +16 on Lazio, second in the standings, getting closer and closer to the Scudetto party. Rather, Maradona's 0-4 brought back into balance a challenge that seemed to significantly favor the Neapolitans, this year certainly stronger than Pioli's Milan.

Spalletti warned everyone: ‘Milan has won 7 Champions Leagues and is the reigning Italian champion, how can we think we are favourites?’. Pretattica? Likely, but now some more doubts Napoli have it for real. The Azzurri will have to start from an important certainty: that of writing the history of their club. After having overcome the rock of the round of 16 for the first time, demolishing Eintracht with agility (both in the first leg and in the second leg), Napoli can only ride the crest of the European dream, never as real as this year.

The most important doubt relates to the recovery of Osimhen, the return from muscle fatigue. There is no doubt that Spalletti will try in any case to enlist him and then deploy him from the 1st ', net of an inevitably suboptimal condition. In the case of a surprise forfeit - rather unlikely at present - Raspadori is ready, but Napoli, with the Nigerian on the field, is an enviable and inimitable war machine. There is Kvara on the left, with Politano – more than Lozano – wide on the right.


Milan (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Tonali, Krunic; Diaz, Bennacer, Leao; Giroud. All.: Pioli.

Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia. All.: Spalletti.


Numbers and curiosities:

Milan faced Napoli in 3 different competitions (Serie A, Coppa Italia and Divisione Nazionale), but never in the Champions League. The Rossoneri have won 68 times, while the Neapolitans have won 51. On the other hand, there are 52 parities.

In the last 14 years, the duels between the challengers reciate a clear recovery of Napoli and a decline of Milan: the Azzurri have won 10 times, while the Rossoneri just 5. There are also 5 cases of tie.

Napoli have always conceded at least one goal in their last 3 games against Milan, but have also won in the last 3 games played at San Siro against the Rossoneri.

In 4 of the last 5 Neapolitan challenges there have been more than 2.5 total goals, with Spalletti's boys being able to score in 8 of the last 10 outings.

Milan have tied 4 of their last 6 games between the league and the cup.

The final examination:

If the head-a-head between the two Italian challengers seemed to have no history until a few weeks ago, with Napoli sensibly favored, now - after the Maradona match - there are some more doubts. However, an objective fact remains: Napoli, this year, has a clearly different performance continuity than Milan. He plays better and has an enviable regularity.

At San Siro it will be a particularly balanced race, which will be worth a large slice of qualifying. It is not to be excluded that both teams may close prematurely for fear of unbuttoning the challenge prematurely, presenting a balanced score of ‘under 3.5’. The X sign is not to be excluded, perhaps with a result similar to 1-1.

Posta un commento

0 Commenti