Stefano Pioli and AC Milan in Need of a Big Victory Against Napoli

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Stefano Pioli
TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 10: coach Stefano Pioli of AC Milan during the Italian Serie A match between Juventus v AC Milan at the Allianz Stadium on November 10, 2019 in Turin Italy (Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)

AC Milan, desperate for a big victory, take on Napoli this weekend. Disarray will be a common theme in Milan versus Napoli. The side managed by Stefano Pioli have lost an astounding seven of their first 12 matches. This has matched Milan’s worst all-time record, and losing eight in 13 will mark the team’s worst start ever recorded. Napoli, on the other hand, are fresh off a major training retreat row which called for the intervention of club chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Stefano Pioli and AC Milan Need a Win Against Napoli

Statistics to Know

Napoli sit in seventh place on the Serie A table. Although this doesn’t meet their standards, they’re within reach of the top four – just five points off. The defence has been a cause for concern, as they’ve conceded 15 goals to their 21 goals scored. Their form of late is troublesome as well, as the team has only recorded one victory in their last five league matches – three have been draws and the other a loss.

Not all is lost, however, as Napoli have performed well in the Champions League. They sit second in Group E, a point behind reigning champions Liverpool. They sit comfortably with eight points after two wins and two draws, showing their true capabilities.

Milan, on the other hand, have been an utter mess. They sacked former manager Marco Giampaolo quite early into the season, and replacement Stefano Pioli has not started off with flying colours.

The Rossoneri are in 14th place and have 13 points in 12 matches. A goal difference of negative five speaks volumes of their play, as they have only managed 11 goals. The team has also lost three of their last five matches.

Players to Watch

Kalidou Koulibaly is the first name to look out for in Milan versus Napoli. Krzysztof Piątek has struggled immensely this season for Milan, but this could be the perfect game for him to turn it around. He’ll look to do so, so Koulibaly will be tasked with stopping him. The Senegalese international has a reputation as one of the best, if not the best, centre back in football so this would be a major “prove it” moment.

Hirving Lozano is another Napoli name to watch. Arkadiusz Milik was forced to withdraw from international play due to injury, placing a cloud over his status for Milan versus Napoli. Lozano, still the new boy, will be handed goal-scoring duties. He’s seen improvement and adjustment into the Italian game, and this could be his chance to feast on a shaky defence.

On Milan’s side, Piątek will be important, of course. He’s had clear success versus Napoli in the past, and he needs to flip his switch soon before Milan fall deeper into mayhem. The team struggles to score, and their goals run through the Polish striker, simply put.

Suso will also be crucial. He has been open about the Milan’s faithful’s criticism and has acknowledged the fact that the squad must improve. He’s an obvious team leader and arguably the most purely-gifted, and it’s time to show it.

Lastly, Gianluigi Donnarumma will be massive. Milan’s defence has struggled, and Donnarumma will be tasked with keeping a fiery Napoli attack at bay. The youngster may very well be the most important goalkeeper in Serie A.

AC Milan v Napoli Prediction

Napoli 2-1 AC Milan

Nothing Milan have done recently has shown that they’re on the brink of improvement. Napoli have seen their fair share of issues, but the team have overcome adversity before and have shown what they’re capable of.

Milan will play a close game, but personal errors will continue to haunt them.

 

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