Saturday, January 21, 2017

AC Milan vs SSC Napoli - Competition: Italian Serie A
Date: 21 January 2017 - Kick-off Time: 19:45 GMT - 20:45 CET
Venue: Stadio San Siro, Milano

AC Milan team have been having a more successful season than many had anticipated so far. The Rossoneri sit in 5th place in the Italian Serie A standings, despite they only drew 2:2 against Torino last time out. It marked the second time in just a few days that they had to face the Granata, as they beat Sinisa Mihajlovic's team 2:1 in Coppa Italia few days before. As to direct encounters with SSC Napoli, the Rossoneri lost 4-2 at the Stadio San Paolo the reverse match earlier this season. Last time they met at the Stadio San Siro, they were hammered 4-0.
Romagnoli and Manuel Locatelli are both suspended for this match and they are likely to be replaced by Gustavo Gomez and Andrea Bertolacci respectively. In fact, Giacomo Bonaventura will join Carlos Bacca and Suso up front, while Mbaye Niang should be benched once again. Juraj Kucka and Mario Pasalic are expected to start in the middle of the park, whilst Davide Calabria and Luca Antonelli are in contention for a starting berth at left back. The likes of Mattia De Sciglio, Mati Fernandez and Riccardo Montolivo are out through injury.
SSC Napoli team have the longest current unbeaten run in the league with 9 consecutive matches witout a loss. The Partenopei, who are 3rd in the table standings and boast the best attack of the league - enter this match on the back of three consecutive home victories in 2017. They recorded a 2:1 success over Sampdoria in the league, a 3-1 win over Spezia in Coppa Italia and another comfortable 3:1 over Pescara in the Italian Serie A last weekend. Anyway, they are not exactly boasting an impressive record in the high pressure ties. They have won just three of their last 11 matches against Serie A’s current top six.
Manager Maurizio Sarri can't count on three players who are playing in AFCON - Kalidou Koulibaly, Faouzi Ghoulam and Omar El Kaddouri - while Arkadiusz Milik is still sidelined. Leonardo Pavoletti is yet to reach full fitness and as consequence Dries Mertens is likely to lead the line, with Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon on his flanks. Manolo Gabbiadini provides further options up-front, although he is likely to leave the club during this transfer window. In defense, Vald Chiriches is out through injury while Raul Albiol is rated as doubtful.

Probable lineups:
AC Milan: Donnarumma – Abate, Paletta, Gomez, Calabria – Kucka, Bertolacci, Pasalic – Suso, Bacca, Bonaventura.
SSC Napoli: Reina – Hysaj, Tonelli, Albiol, Strinic – Zielinski, Jorginho, Hamsik – Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.

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