Napoli face AC Milan at the Stadio Diego Maradona. These two teams are set to meet three times in the next 3 weeks, first here in Serie A and then in a mouth-watering Champions League quarter final two legged tie.
Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli are a massive 19 points clear at the summit of the Serie A table and it’s surely just a matter of when, not if they are to lift the Scudetto this season. AC Milan have been in poor form since the World Cup break, winning just 4 of their 12 league games.
There really is so much on the line here. Both sides will have to come out and play, and that’s a recipe for a game that’s great for a bet builder. I’ve sorted a Stats Pack for the clash below, and if you want to increase your chances of winning, then why not check out my Stats Pack Guide whilst you’re at it.
Napoli will be without their top striker Victor Osimhen who is injured. He will likely be replaced in the side by Giovanni Simeone. The Serie A table toppers should otherwise be at full strength and lineup in their usual 4-3-3 formation.
Centre back Pierre Kalulu is injured for AC Milan which might see them revert to a back four. However, a more likely solution is to bring in Simon Kjaer to partner Tomori and Thiaw. Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to miss this clash due to an injury so Olivier Giroud will continue to lead the line.
Napoli average an impressive 2.37 goals per game which is an overachievement compared to their xG of 1.87. Their defence has been impressive with an xGA of just 0.80. They have only conceded an average of 0.59 goals per game, aided by their opponents only having 2.41 SOT. Napoli have fired in an impressive 16.19 shots in each fixture and have not shied away from attempts.
Napoli matches have mid to high corner rates with 5.89 for and 4.19 against. They have managed to draw a massive 2.78 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 1.37 cards themselves.
AC Milan average 1.63 goals per game and 1.33 against. Their xG and xGA metrics correlate closely to these numbers. Milan average 14.41 shots per match with 4.78 on target. They only concede 3.44 SOT in each fixture which is relatively impressive.
Corners have been low in Milan games. They only average 4.126 themselves with 4.85 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 2.74 for and 3.26 against. Cards do tend to flow more readily in Serie A, but this still shows their games can regularly flare up.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Napoli will obviously miss the shooting and accuracy of Victor Osimhen. Maybe Simone or whoever replaces him in attack could be worth looking out for in this market. Kvicha Kvaratskhelia has the next highest number of shots for Napoli at 3.34 per 90 mins with 1.25 on target. The duo of Lozano and Zielinski both like to try their luck and comfortably average well over 2 shots per 90 mins.
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 0.69 on target. Right wing back Messias has very similar numbers, and on the other side Hernandez fires in 1.84 shots per 90 mins.
Player Goals and Assists
Victor Osimhen has scored 21 goals and Napoli will obviously miss their behemoth 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.
The two leading scorers for AC Milan are Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud with 8 goals each. They also lead the team for assists with 6 and 4. Brahim Diaz has four goals and three assists. That trio of attackers are absolutely key for Milan. Wing backs Messias and Hernandez can be dangerous and both capable of chipping in with goals and assists.
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 average 53.60% but may have to take a back seat here in southern Italy. Several players average over 50 passes per 90 mins with centre backs Simon Kjaer, Thiaw 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.
It is noticeable how much of a clean team Napoli are. They do not obtain many cards with defender Kim Min-jae and attacker Osimhen leading their bookings charts, but only with 4 each. Lozano will press from the front and is a candidate to commit fouls in less dangerous areas. Perhaps Simeone will be asked to replicate Osimhen’s role in this capacity. Both full backs Di Lorenzo and either Olivera or 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 a very attacking left wing back and will regularly venture forward, averaging 2.29 dribbles per 90 mins. Diaz is a skilful playmaker who sits in the hole and can be elusive. Right wing back Messias is another attack minded player in his role and dribbles an average of 3.41 times per 90 mins. 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.
Match-Ups to watch
Hirving Lozano vs Theo Hernandez
Kim Min-jae vs Olivier Giroud
Giovanni di Lorenzo vs Rafael Leao
AC MILAn Cards
The Italian outfit average a high number of cards. Striker Olivier Giroud is a very physical striker and has eight cards in addition to fouling an average of 1.71 times per 90 mins. Rafael Leao also has 8 cards and can get hot-headed. He only fouls 0.69 times per 90 mins but is a candidate to put in a silly challenge at some stage. The midfield duo of Tonali and now Krunic are also strong possibles to go in the book and produce fouls, along with left back Theo Hernandez.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia averages 6.61 dribbles per 90 mins. He is amazing 1 vs 1 and is fouled 1.61 times per 90 mins. 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.
Match-Ups to watch
Olivier Giroud vs Kim Min-jae
Rade Krunic vs Stanislas Lobotka
Theo Hernandez vs Hirving Lozano