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Inter Milan vs Napoli live

Inter Milan vs Napoli live.

Serie A returns to action on Wednesday, and the fans are in for a treat as the two Italian heavyweights, Napoli and Inter Milan, go head-to-head against each other in a mouth-watering clash at San Siro in what would be their first league outing after the World Cup.

One of the most highly anticipated fixtures on the Serie A calendar, matches between both teams are often closely fought, and Wednesday’s clash should be no different, with both sides keen to get off to a good start in 2023.

It seemed like the wheels of Inzaghi’s Inter car had come off after they made a slow start to the season, but the former Lazio boss has since stabilised the ship somewhat with progression into the Champions League Round of 16 at Barcelona’s expense and a string of positive results in the league to back up their mini-revival.

They finished 2022 on a high note, thumping Bologna and defeating a resurgent Atalanta away from home to give themselves renewed optimism when Serie A resumes following the World Cup. However, Simone Inzaghi has his work cut out for him to get this team to break into the top four, with it being a tight race this season.

 

On the other hand, Napoli have been in sensational form so far this season and are early favourites to scoop the Scudetto after falling short in the final lap last season.

Luciano Spalletti’s brigade are caving the path for something truly special, as they are currently seven points clear at the top of the table. They are flying, scoring goals for fun, and showing no signs of slowing down. The visitors have dropped zero points all season, but this will be one of their toughest tests to date.

The corresponding fixture last season ended in an enthralling 3-2 win for Inter Milan, with a late Dries Mertens goal providing the scare for the hosts. And, ahead of their latest meeting on Wednesday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Inter Milan

 

Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi has almost received a clean bill of health ahead of their crucial match against Napoli on Wednesday, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan the only doubt after picking up an injury in their most recent friendly. Three points to start the year would be ideal for Inter Milan, but it is a tall order against this Napoli team.

Inter’s back three have looked slightly wobbly at the back lately. They have conceded four goals in their last two Serie A matches across all competitions and will be given a stern test by Napoli’s forward line. The three-man backline of Milan Skriniar, Francesco Acerbi, and Alessandro Bastoni should hold on to their places and will be given the tough task of shutting out Napoli’s attack.

If the Armenian midfielder Mkhitaryan misses out here, Roberto Gagliardini may well deputise in the No. 6 position, while creator-in-chief Hakan Calhanoglu and energetic Nicolo Barella are also likely to be retained in the three-man midfield unit.

The wing-backs, Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco, would maraud up and down the pitch, covering the space and in turn providing the necessary width, with the former’s blistering pace and far-post runs making him a menace, while the latter has superb vision and crossing ability.

If Lautaro Martinez is still deemed unready after the World Cup, Inter will be banking on the striking threats of Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko, with the former’s early return from the World Cup a big boost for Inzaghi’s side, who will look to get him back fit and firing sooner rather than later.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Gagliardini, Calhanoglu, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lukaku

Napoli

Like his counterpart in the Inter dugout, Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti should have a full-strength roster to pick his starting XI from as Napoli return to action at the top of the league.

Alex Meret is the undisputed No. 1 for Napoli this term and should start against Inter. He will be hoping to start the New Year at home with a clean sheet.

The back four of Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-jae, Juan Jesus, and Mario Rui are expected to start in front of Meret in Spalletti’s preferred 4-3-3 setup. Kim and Jesus will marshal the defence, with Di Lorenzo and Rui operating from the full-back positions.

Piotr Zielinksi, Stanislav Lobotka, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa have been mainstays in midfield, playing crucial roles in powering the Partenopei to the top of the table. Lobotka will reprise his No. 6 role, bringing composure and breaking up play in the middle of the park.

His presence should allow Zielinski and Anguissa to make more of an impact in the final third with their late runs into the box, as well as provide the required defensive support to prevent Inter from bombarding their defence with turnovers.

As always, Napoli will look to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia to provide the spark on Wednesday night. With eight goals and ten assists from 17 outings across all competitions, the Georgian has enjoyed a terrific season so far. He is the creator-in-chief and will hope to make a difference against Inter. He will get support from Hirving Lozano and talismanic striker Victor Osimhen in attack.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Kim, Jesus, Rui; Zielinski, Lobotka, Anguissa; Lozano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Key Stats

  • Napoli have won their last 11 Serie A matches in a row, the last team to register a longer winning streak in the Italian top flight was Juventus between December 2017 and March 2018 (12 straight wins).
  • After PSG’s 3-1 defeat against second-placed Lens in Ligue 1, Napoli are the only teams in Europe’s top five leagues without a defeat in each domestic contest.
  • Lautaro Martinez has scored four goals against Napoli in Serie A. Three of his four goals against the Partenopei have come at the Meazza Stadium.
  • Luciano Spalletti’s side are yet to lose away from home in Serie A this season, winning six of their seven games on the road.
  • Inter have lost five of their six games against sides in the top eight of Serie A this term.

Player to Watch

Victor Osimhen

 

Nigerian striker and Serie A top scorer Victor Osimhen has been a key component of Napoli’s winning juggernaut this season, having scored nine goals in just ten starts in Serie A. The 24-year-old has struggled at times with his fitness. But he is a consistent game-changer when he available and can drive Napoli to the Scudetto if he stays injury free throughout the second half of the season.

Osimhen could find the back of the net once again on Wednesday against a very susceptible Inter backline that has shipped most Serie A goals of any top-half side. And another top-class showing might prompt his suitors to ramp up their efforts to sign him.

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