Napoli vs Inter Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battles, Team News & More

?Saturday brings a very tasty clash in Serie A between the teams in first and second place.

League leaders Napoli have got everybody talking this season with their attacking brand of football under Maurizio Sarri, which is a continuation from their 2016/17 campaign.

AS Roma v SSC Napoli - Serie A

They have surged to the top of the table with eight wins out of eight, scoring 26 goals and conceding just five, and the feeling is that they could genuinely end Juventus’ domestic dominance come May.

Inter are going pretty well themselves and are just two points behind their opponents, and they will feel confident of becoming the first team to take points off Napoli in Serie A this season.

Luciano Spalletti has done a terrific job so far since his summer arrival from Roma, and there have been whispers that Inter too could challenge for glory under his guidance this season.

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It’s been a strong start for both teams and it promises to be a fantastic game, one that the wounded Juventus will no doubt be keen to see end in a draw.


Classic Encounter

Napoli 4-2 Inter (December 2013)

Napoli recorded a great result over their opponents a few seasons ago at Stadio San Paolo,  winning 4-2.

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Goals from Gonzalo Higuain, Dries Mertens, Blerim Dzemaili and Jose Callejon handed them the three points and condemned 10-man Inter to their second defeat of the season. 

It could have been and even sweeter margin of victory but Goran Pandev failed to convert from the penalty spot.


Key Battles

Dries Mertens vs Miranda

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The Belgian is hot right now, and will give Miranda a lot to think about on Saturday night. 

Mertens’ movement is so tricky to deal with, and the Brazilian will need to be on his game to stop him from scoring.

Mauro Icardi vs Kalidou Koulibaly

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Essentially, this is the same battle as the previous one – Icardi is to Mertens what Koulibaly is to Miranda. The Argentine isn’t as nippy as Mertens but certainly knows just where to be in order to score goals. He will be a tough opponent for Koulibaly, who has been impressive thus far.


Team News

Manchester City v SSC Napoli - UEFA Champions League

Sarri will have the majority of his players to choose from for the game, but he is currently sweating on the fitness of Lorenzo Insigne, who hobbled off against Manchester City in midweek. 

Arkadiusz Milik remains a long-term absentee, as does Lorenzo Tonelli.

Benevento Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Marcelo Brozovic isn’t ready to come back from his calf injury, but Davide Santon and Joao Cancelo could both be available.

Predicted Napoli XI: Reina, Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam, Hamsik, Allan, Diawara, Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.

Predicted Inter XI: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Skriniar, Nagatomo, Vecino, Gagliardini, Candreva, Valero, Perisic, Icardi.


Prediction

Inter will try to neutralise the attacking threat of Napoli and catch them on the break. Their possession game has been sublime so far this season and Inter will be aiming to disrupt that. 

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Sarri will implore his side to fly out of the traps, something they were prevented from doing in midweek by Manchester City. Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating game.

Prediction: Napoli 2-2 Inter

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