AC Milan host Napoli at the San Siro for the first leg of their Champions League quarter final tie. Milan sensationally beat runaway Serie A league leaders Napoli 4-0 in Naples recently so they will be desperate to replicate that form in this competition. With both sides in the ‘favourable’ side of the UCL draw then this represents a massive chance to go all the way to the final, so the stakes are high.
I’ve taken a look at the domestic form of both of these Italian giants, and used it to put together a stats pack to help you with you bet builder selections on Wednesday night. Shots, goals, cards, fouls, passes, it’s all there to help you land a winner. Make sure to check out my Stats Pack Guide alongside the numbers below to help increase your chances of a bet builder winner.
AC Milan might have defender Pierre Kalulu back from injury, but veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unlikely to feature. Olivier Giroud will lead the line flanked either side by the impressive Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz.
Manager Stefano Pioli has a decision to make defensively if Kalulu is available. Will he stick with a 4-2-3-1 system or revert to a back three? Tomori and Kjaer are expected to be the centre back partnership with Kalulu not rushed back.
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has been officially ruled out of the first leg which is a major blow. He is also a major doubt for the second leg next week in Naples. To add to Napoli’s worries his likely replacement Giovanni Simeone limped off vs Lecce at the weekend and has been ruled out for 2-3 weeks.
Giacomo Raspadori should therefore start upfront, although he himself has been suffering with injury recently. Napoli should otherwise lineup in their strongest possible team in a 4-3-3 formation.
AC Milan average 1.66 goals per game and 1.24 against. Their xG and xGA metrics correlate closely to these numbers. Milan average 14.69 shots per match with 4.86 on target. They only concede 3.38 SOT in each fixture which is relatively impressive.
Corners have been low in Milan games. They only average 4.41 themselves with 4.86 against. This is something to watch out for because their wide players often cut inside and don’t look to stretch the field. Cards have been astronomically high in AC Milan games with 2.69 for and 3.14 against. Cards do tend to flow more readily in Serie A, but this still shows their games can regularly flare up.
Napoli average an impressive 2.28 goals per game which is an overachievement compared to their xG of 1.82. Their defence has been impressive with an xGA of just 0.86. They have only conceded an average of 0.72 goals per game, aided by their opponents only having 2.62 SOT. Napoli have fired in an impressive 16.07 shots in each fixture and have not shied away from attempts.
Napoli matches have mid to high corner rates with 5.97 for and 4.21 against. They have managed to draw a massive 2.72 cards per game on average from their opponents. Luciano Spalletti’s men have generally been very clean this season and only picked up an average of 1.34 cards themselves.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Both Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao average around 3.50 shots per 90 mins. Neither are especially accurate though at around the 33% mark. Attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz fires in nearly two shots per 90 mins with 0.90 on target and has been more accurate. Left back Hernandez fires in 1.84 shots per 90 mins but might not operate as high here in a 4-2-3-1 system.
Napoli will obviously miss the shooting and accuracy of Victor Osimhen. Raspadori looks like replacing him and averages close to 4 shots per 90 mins at a 1.64 accuracy ratio. Whether he can last more than an hour due to fitness would be a concern though.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia has the next highest number of shots for Napoli at 3.21 per 90 mins with 1.13 on target. The duo of Lozano and Zielinski both like to try their luck and comfortably average well over 2 shots per 90 mins.
Player Goals and Assists
The two leading scorers for AC Milan are Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud with 10 and 8 goals each respectively. They also lead the team for assists with 6 and 4. Brahim Diaz has five goals and three assists. That trio of attackers are absolutely key for Milan.
Theo Hernandez is probably more dangerous as a wing back but has chipped in well. Tonali’s five assists from midfield is the second most in the team.
Victor Osimhen has scored 21 goals and Napoli will obviously miss their behemoth, world class, striker. Kvicha Kvaratskhelia leads the team for assists with 10 and he has also scored 12 times. Midfield runners Elmas, Zielinski and Lozano have also chipped in with goals. Polish international Zielinski is the second leading assist maker in the team with seven.
AC Milan average 53.70% possession but might give up more of the ball to Napoli here. Even in the match they won 4-0 recently they only had 39% vs Spalletti’s men.
Several players average over 50 passes per 90 mins with centre backs Simon Kjaer and Tomori perhaps the most likely to have a high mark in this game. With the potential that Milan will have lower than normal possession it may be wise not to consider any of their players in the passing markets.
Napoli have averaged a massive 61% possession this season. As a result, several of their players have eclipsed the 70 passes mark per 90 mins.
Kim Min-jae is likely to last the whole match barring injury and is the prime candidate here along with fellow centre back Rrahmani. Midfielder Lobotka is another to watch out for here due to his average game time and 65 passes per 90 mins.
AC Milan Cards and Fouls
The Italian outfit average a high number of cards. Striker Olivier Giroud is a very physical striker and has nine cards in addition to fouling an average of 1.83 times per 90 mins. Rafael Leao also has 8 cards and can get hot-headed. He only fouls 0.65 times per 90 mins but is a candidate to put in a silly challenge at some stage.
The midfield duo of Tonali and Krunic are also strong possibilities to go in the book and produce fouls, along with left back Theo Hernandez.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia averages 6.70 dribbles per 90 mins. He is amazing 1 vs 1 and is fouled 1.46 times per 90 mins. Players are actually starting to become really afraid and don’t commit themselves to him. Left back Mario Rui is actually fouled more on that side of the field.
Hirving Lozano is another with a high dribbling rate and is brought down nearly twice per game. Lobotka will regularly get stuck into some midfield battles and someone who can be a foul magnet because teams try to stop early Napoli counter-attacks
Matchups to watch
Olivier Giroud vs Kim Min-jae
Rade Krunic vs Stanislav Lobotka
Theo Hernandez vs Hirving Lozano
Napoli Cards and Fouls
It is noticeable how much of a clean team Napoli are. They do not obtain many cards with defender Kim Min-jae leading their bookings charts but only with four. Lozano will press from the front and is a candidate to commit fouls in less dangerous areas. Both full backs Di Lorenzo and Rui will be tested by the AC Milan wide men.
Both Theo Hernandez and Brahim Diaz are major candidates to draw fouls and cards. Hernandez is an attacking left wing back, averaging 2.30 dribbles per 90 mins. He might not venture as far forward in a 4-2-3-1 system. Diaz is a skilful playmaker who sits in the hole or drifts wide and can be elusive.
The Napoli fullbacks could be tested here because Milan’s main danger comes out wide. Leao is another player who can cause all sorts of trouble, whilst the central midfield trio will all be combative.
Matchups to watch
Hirving Lozano vs Theo Hernandez
Kim Min-jae vs Olivier Giroud
Giovanni di Lorenzo vs Rafael Leao
My Bet Builder Picks of the Pack
Using the stats above, and taking a glance at their last meeting, I’ve picked out the same bet builder that won when the two sides met on the 2nd April, this time generously priced at 8/1.
AC Milan vs Napoli
Four selections that all came in for my winning bet builder earlier in the month when these two met in a 4-0 Milan rout in Naples.
Despite being on the wrong end of the score line, Napoli still blew Milan away on the corners front.
They took 10 corners to Milan’s 4.
Their league averages massively favour this selection, with Napoli averaging 5.97 corners and conceding just 4.21 per game.
Milan tend to rack up less corners than their Serie A opposition, taking 4.41 and conceding 4.86 on average.
Across their two knockout games in the UCL so far, Napoli took the most corners racking up 13 corners in total to Frankfurt’s 7.
Milan were out -cornered in both legs against Tottenham, losing this battle 8-3 and 6-0 in those two legs respectively.
AC Milan receive an average of 2.69 cards brandished in their direction in Serie A.
In comparison, Napoli are a very clean team and average just 1.34.
Of course a Champions League knockout match makes a difference, but the underlying fact is that Milan players are much more prone to a bad challenge.
Milan’s central midfield partnerships really stand out, with Sandro Tonali, Rade Krunic and Ismael Bennacer all receiving at least 5 bookings this season.
Then you’ve got Olivier Giroud and Rafa Leao up top who have received 9 and 8 cards respectively.
The referee tonight, Istvan Kovacs also averages 5.15 cards, so that favours the card balance to be edged in one team’s favour- and that will most likely be Milan.
In both Milan and Napoli’s meetings so far this season, Milan have received the most cards (4-3 and 2-1).
Theo Hernandez may not make the stats pack graphic, but that doesn’t mean he’s not prone to a foul or two.
He averages 0.74 fouls p/90 across the Serie A campaign but has committed at least 1 foul in 5 of his last 6 outings for club and country.
That includes committing a foul in the last meeting against Napoli.
In the Champions League he has committed 7 fouls in 7.
The Frenchman is very attacking-minded, and will foray forward as he does for club and country – reflected in his assist tallies.
But he’s got to deal with the pace of Hirving Lozano when tracking back, who draws a hefty 1.71 fouls p/90 and attempts 4.14 take-ons.
Kvaratskhelia will be the biggest attacking outlet for Napoli with Victor Osimhen ruled out with injury.
That’s not to say he hasn’t been the whole season, racking up double figures for goals and assists in the league (12 goals, 10 assists).
The Georgian winger averages 3.21 shots p/90 in the league this season which is more than what we’re asking for.
He managed 3 against Milan earlier in the month despite being on the wrong end of the 4-0 defeat.
But staggeringly, he averages 4.83 shots p/90 in the Champions League.
He has broke n the 3 shot mark in every Champions League outing bar one (vs Ajax), including 8 in one match vs Rangers and 5 against Liverpool away from home.
Napoli average 16.07 shots p/90 while Milan concede 11.00.