Picking a Combined XI of Inter & Napoli Players Ahead of Saturday’s Crunch Serie A Clash

Saturday sees a clash of the top two over in Italy, as league leaders Napoli host Internazionale in what is set up to be a brilliant game.

Both sides have flown out of the traps this season, and have some excellent players in their ranks.

The form of star men Mauro Icardi and Dries Mertens makes it simply impossible to choose between the two and therefore dictates that a combined XI needs a formation of 4-4-2, but who are the supporting cast.

12. GK: Samir Handanovic – Inter

There hasn’t been much to separate Samir Handanovic and Pepe Reina so far this season – both keepers have been ever-presents and conceded just five goals apiece.

Handanovic sneaks in on the basis of being the slightly better keeper overall. The Slovenian is a reliable shot stopper, and has largely been underrated during his time at Inter. 

11. RB: Elseid Hysaj – Napoli

Elseid Hysaj is an integral part of Napoli’s attack-minded side. He is always keen to take the game to the opposition by bombing forward, and can often be the danger man teams forget about as they focus on the likes of Jose Callejon, Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne.

The Albanian makes it on over Danilo D’Ambrosio, who has performed reasonably for Inter this season.

10. CB: Miranda – Inter

Inter Milan’s Brazilian defender is strong as an ox, and reads the game impressively, despite his lack of pace and technique.

The star, formerly of Atletico Madrid, can be a formidable opponent when on his game and would make up a frightening partnership with the next man on the list if they ever played for the same team.

9. CB – Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly is highly-sought after and for good reason – he is definitely one of the best defenders in Serie A.

The man-mountain is probably even stronger than Miranda and unlike his hypothetical teammate is pretty quick for his size, making him a pain to get past.

He is also particularly threatening from set pieces, so it’s little wonder the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea have been linked with his name in the past.

8. LB: Faouzi Ghoulam – Napoli

Faouzi Ghoulam is arguably the best left-back in Serie A at the moment, and he could be leaving soon if Napoli don’t pull something out of the bag.

The Algerian is out of contract next summer, meaning he could be poached in January in a cut-price deal, or for free on expiry of his current deal.

If he does leave, then whoever gets him is snagging an utter bargain – Ghoulam is a superb crosser of the ball and is particularly attack-minded, as demonstrated most recently against Manchester City in the Champions League. He has four goals in Serie A already this season.

7. RM: Lorenzo Insigne – Napoli

Lorenzo Insigne has become one of Napoli’s most important players under Maurizio Sarri – the diminutive forward has that low centre of gravity and rapid dribbling that makes defending against him a complete nightmare.

He suits their brand of football perfectly and is fantastic to watch when in full flow.

6. CM: Matias Vecino – Inter Milan

Matias Vecino has been quietly impressive for Inter since his summer move from Fiorentina.

The Uruguayan is smooth operator in midfield – tidy in possession, recycling it well, and recently helped the Nerazzurri beat Roma at the Stade Olimpico for the first time in nine years.

5. CM: Marek Hamsik – Napoli

Marek Hamsik has been one of the apex attacking midfielders for several years and still has quality in abundance. He is arguably still Napoli’s main man and is one of their most creative sparks.

The Slovakian can thread passes through the eye of a needle and possesses a wicked shot from distance in his arsenal.

4. LM: Ivan Perisic – Inter Milan

Ivan Perisic is a seriously underrated winger. The Croatian was maligned over the summer for his links to Manchester United, but he is perhaps showing what they are missing.

He has hit four goals and three assists and has played every minute of every game so far, signalling his importance to Inter’s cause.

He is skilful, unpredictable and industrious, and has a strong weak foot which sets him apart from your average winger.

3. ST: Mauro Icardi – Inter Milan

Inter’s talisman gained plaudits recently for his fabulous hat-trick against rivals AC Milan, but in truth, Mauro Icardi has been going under the radar for a while now.

The Nerazurri captain is super clinical, whether that be with his right foot, left foot, head or instinctively, and his goal record absolutely speaks for itself. A top 10 striker.

2. ST: Dries Mertens – Napoli

Napoli’s answer to Icardi comes in the form of Dries Mertens, who has emerged as  Partenopei’s main danger man over the past year.

The 30-year-old has made a seamless transition into the role of central striker as a result of Arkadiusz Milik’s injury troubles and Gonzalo Higuain’s departure. Last season he scored an incredible 28 league goals and he is off to a flying start this campaign after notching seven in eight.

1. Manager: Maurizio Sarri – Napoli

Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli really do play some scintillating football, which is highlighted by their 31 goals in all competitions already this season.

The studious coach ran Juventus close to the league title last season, and many are tipping him to go all the way this time around.

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