Napoli – AC Milan: Milan Spoil Napoli’s Run to Glory (0-4)

In the first of three matches in the space of just sixteen days, AC Milan gained ground and confidence to defy Napoli’s spirit with a resounding away win. Stefano Pioli’s gameplan, reversing back to a 4-2-3-1 formation aimed at gaining superiority in midfield, together with a below par performance from Napoli’s interpreters, showed that Serie A leaders could be vulnerable if mental and physical effort drop.

Tactical analysis and match report by Giovanni Cesaroni.

As the anticipation for the last stages of the football season started to rise, Serie A returned with a big match after the international break, as the current title holders AC Milan visited likely champions Napoli in front of a euphoric Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Despite sitting comfortably at the top of the table, Napoli’s match preparations were tinted with shadows of concern as the league best goalscorer and team superstar Victor Osimhen was forced to miss the game due to a muscular injury, giving space to Giovanni Simeone up front, the decisive man in the reverse fixture last October. As for the rest of the lineup, Luciano Spalletti largely confirmed his preferred 4-3-3 system with Kim Min-Jae and Amir Rrahmani as center-backs, Mario Rui and Giovanni Di Lorenzo as offensive fullbacks, the regular midfield formed by Stanislav Lobotka, Franck Anguissa and Piotr Zieliński and lastly, Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia playing as inside wingers.

By contrast, Milan came to this match on the back of a very patchy series of results which put their hopes of Champions League qualification in danger. On this occasion, Stefano Pioli decided to revert to . . .

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