Napoli-Milan Preview: April Foolishness

Sunday night, Milan travel to the Stadio Maradona to face Napoli for the second time in the league this year. Our first meeting this season was marred by a poor ref decision the previous week that saw Leão suspended, and still, it was incredibly unlucky that we did not get a result. Napoli will be missing Osimhen for this match, but if you'll recall, he was also injured when we met before, so thinking that this is some kind of massive boost for Milan is really just a fool's hope. In fact, after being winless once again in our last three league matches, to expect a win away against the league leaders is just April foolishness.

April foolishness

Napolli have shown that they are not quite perfect on the pitch this year, but they are definitely the next best thing. They have won every match without Osimhen this season, so missing him is truly not an advantage for Milan at all. Especially since he will likely be replaced by son-of-Inter-snake Simeone, who particularly delights in scoring against Milan.

In the league, Napoli's record is 23 wins, two draws, and two losses, for a total of 71 points thus far. Their most recent win was a 4-0 thrashing of Torino in Turin ahead of the international break. For that match, Spalletti lined up: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Kim Min-Jae, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Osimhen, and Kvaratskhelia. In addition to Osimhen's injury, Bereszynski is also out injured. There is also the Real Housewives of Korea drama going on with Kim Min-Jae and his compatriot that could be a distraction, but even that is unlikely to stop the steam roller that is the Napoli winning machine this season.

The overwhelming leader for Serie A's capocannoniere this year will likely not even be missed

Pioli also has new injury concerns. After having a complete squad for exactly one day in training for the entire season, the international break saw more players injured once again. With Messias already out, Kalulu incurred a calf lesion while with France U21, and Ibrahimović is also injured, reported to miss up to a month. Kalulu is the big miss, as he is key in Pioli's defensive plans.

After the discouraging loss to Udinese before the break, there was already discussion that Pioli would return to a four-man back line. Kalulu was the key that would allow Pioli to be able to easily fluctuate between a three- and four-man back line. Without him, it gives Pioli a lot less flexibility, not to mention missing Kalulu's speed and defensive prowess. Switching to the four-man backline, Pioli must also narrow down his choices at center back between youth and experience, and also likely bring back a right back who has not played much of late.

We will likely see a return of our captain with the injury of Kalulu and the exit of the 3 man backline

Normally, going to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona is a terrifying prospect. However, Napoli Ultras have chosen this match of all matches to silently protest an increase in ticket prices and the sanctions given them for brutally fighting with Roma fans on multiple occasions this season. Like all Ultras, they are not too bright, because the sanctions are a direct result of their own senseless violence which directly impacts both Napoli and Serie A's image throughout the world. Their silence during a big match could impact their team's performance, but will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the decision to increase prices. So thanks, fools. Just please don't be violent this time.

There is a place for optimism, but it is not for this match. While some argue that we have a fighting chance against Napoli in the Champions League because of our Milan DNA, this is Serie A, where Milan have made it very clear that we had no intention whatsoever of defending our Scudetto title. January was bad, but we had four good games in February. We survived through March, dropping even more points senselessly. But to simply plan for us to start this intense month with a win away to Napoli is just April foolishness.

This post inspired by the music of The Sundays' "Here's Where the Story Ends"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 28
Napoli vs. Milan
Sunday, April 2, 2023 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+ in the U.S.

Napoli-Milan Preview: April Foolishness Napoli-Milan Preview: April Foolishness Reviewed by Elaine on 2:31 PM Rating: 5
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