Milan-Napoli Preview: The Big One

This match has been highly anticipated since early in the season, when both teams were undefeated and fighting for top spot. Our fortunes seem intertwined, as both teams went undefeated until week 13. While both teams are still in the top four, both sides have faced some absolutely devastating injuries that have seen them both drop points of late. Both Milan and Napoli also play beautiful, attacking football that is fantastic to watch. While Milan sit three points ahead, Napoli have conceded the fewest goals in Serie A this season. 

Can our two big front men come good in the big match?

Napoli led the league on goal differential most of the season until, like Milan, injuries and fatigue caught up to them. Their first loss of the season was against those lowly snakes, Inter, in which they also lost their star, Osimhen, to a horrific facial injury with multiple fractures. Since then, they decimated Lazio 4-0, then drew with Sassuolo and lost to Atalanta and Empoli. Their surprise home defeat to Empoli last week was decided by a single goal by our former Cutrone, who clearly still bleeds red and black. 

For that match, Spalletti lined up: Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Mario Rui; Demme, Zielinski; Lozano, Ounas, Elmas; and Mertens. Despite their recent injury and COVID plague, which has at times rivaled Milan's, Spalletti recently saw Anguissa, Zielinski, Elmas, and Demme back and should also have Lobotka back for this one. He will be missing Insigne, who trained in the gym on Friday, Mario Rui, who was not called up, as well as Koulibaly, Osimhen, and Ruiz. 

Osimhen and Koulibaly are two big misses for the visitors

Pioli has only one piece of good news: Giroud was back in training on Friday, and should be available for Sunday's match. Other than that, he is keeping the trend of having five or more players out every single match for at least three months now. Kjaer is obviously out for the season after his devastating knee injury. Also still missing are Calabria, Rebić, Leao, Plizzari, and Pellegri. Theo Hernández has not trained all week as he has had the flu, so is very unlikely for tomorrow. (That is seven players likely to be out, if you are counting.)

This week, Radio Rossonera looked at the injuries in Serie A since kickoff of the 2020-21 season to date, to find that Milan players had over 100 more injuries collectively than any other team. During last season and this season to date, Milan players in total missed 377 matches, while Napoli was second with 171 missed matches due to COVID or injury. So if you thought that you were just imagining the injury problems at Milan, they are very, very real.

Two of our big missing pieces

Which brings us to this match up. Injuries are very real for both sides. Both teams are missing their best defender, as well as other important players. Napoli are missing five players, and Milan are missing seven, five of whom would normally be starters. However, we are used to playing like this, so that should not stop us from fighting to the final whistle for a very important three points. Napoli will not want to throw away any more points, as the table is very tight. Anything can happen in 90 minutes, and I would expect a lot to happen with these two teams. This is the big one.

This match inspired by the music of The Prodigy's "Take Me to the Hospital"

Serie A Week 18
Milan vs. Napoli
Sunday, December 19 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.
or watched on CBS Sports Network

Milan-Napoli Preview: The Big One Milan-Napoli Preview: The Big One Reviewed by Elaine on 6:31 AM Rating: 5
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