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Nov 21, 2021 at 5pm UK
Inter MilanInter Milan
Calhanoglu (25' pen.), Perisic (44'), Martinez (61')
Inzaghi (24'), Calhanoglu (41'), Vidal (72'), Handanovic (84'), Dzeko (90+1')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Zielinski (17'), Mertens (78')
Osimhen (10'), Koulibaly (24'), Rrahmani (35')

Preview: Inter Milan vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Inter Milan vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Napoli, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Reigning champions Inter Milan attempt to close the gap to leaders Napoli on Sunday evening, when the two Serie A superpowers convene at San Siro.

While the third-placed Nerazzurri were held to a 1-1 draw in the Milan Derby last time out, their visitors extended an unbeaten start by sharing the same scoreline with in-form Verona.

Match preview

Still trailing both this weekend's opponents and their city rivals by seven points after the season's first Derby della Madonnina a fortnight ago, Inter's hopes of back-to-back Scudetti may rely on turning the tide in games such as Sunday's.

The visit of Napoli to Stadio Giuseppe Meazza follows a tense draw with Milan before the international break, when they missed a penalty and several other chances to win before Alexis Saelemaekers almost consigned them to defeat with a late shot that struck the post.

Since a loss to Lazio in the middle of last month, Simone Inzaghi's side have gone unbeaten at home and abroad, with only a draw in the Derby d'Italia previously preventing them from claiming five straight wins. Inter are also second behind Real Madrid in their Champions League group and in a good position to progress, should they post some positive results in the next few weeks.

However, the Scudetto holders seem to have lost a little of their ruthless edge since Antonio Conte and Romelu Lukaku departed the scene during the summer and are winless in four league games this term against sides who finished in the top seven last season.

Furthermore, Inzaghi's highest loss percentage in Serie A has been against his personal nemesis, Napoli, having been beaten by the Partenopei a remarkable seven times out of 10 while managing Lazio. The Neapolitans have also scored more set-piece goals than any other Serie A side so far (11), while Inter have conceded the highest share from set pieces - seven out of 13.

The Nerazzurri, though, remain unbeaten in their last four league matches against their southern rivals, and thanks to a new-look attack, have scored the most goals in Serie A this season.

While the champions may be scoring at will - averaging nearly 2.5 goals per game - Napoli have conceded the fewest times in the Italian top flight by far, and their resilient rearguard has restricted opposing sides to a miserly four goals throughout the first 12 matches of a promising campaign.

Former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti has seen his squad win 10 of their first 12 Serie A fixtures to stay locked on points with Milan at the top of the table as the first third of the season draws to a close.

They were, though, denied a fourth straight victory just before the international break, as Verona held firm to secure a 1-1 draw at Stadio Maradona, and end the Azzurri's perfect home record in the league.

Nonetheless, Napoli are unbeaten in their last 21 top-flight games, with their last defeat coming back in April, versus Juventus. Such a consistent run sees them closing in on a club record of 26 set four years ago, but they now face a stern test of their credentials to topple Inter as champions next spring.

Star striker Victor Osimhen has recently experienced his first dry spell since an electric start to the season but was on target during both of Nigeria's World Cup qualifiers, so he should be back to his irrepressible best on Sunday. With the former Lille forward on song and a rock-solid defence at his service, Spalletti should be confident of taking three points from his return to San Siro.

Inter Milan Serie A form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Inter Milan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Napoli Serie A form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Napoli form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Team News

Despite leading the goalscoring charts as a collective, Simone Inzaghi will be hoping for some greater productivity from his Inter forwards upon their return to club duty this week, as after netting nine goals combined between the international breaks in September and October - a total of five games - strike duo Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez have managed only one in five league matches since.

The injured Dzeko is replaced by Joaquin Correa at the apex of a 3-5-2 for the home side, who will also be missing first-choice defender Stefan de Vrij on Sunday due to a hamstring injury. However, Alessandro Bastoni has recovered from a muscular issue which kept him out of Italy's goalless draw with Northern Ireland on Monday, so will start in the back three.

After featuring for the Netherlands as they secured safe passage to the World Cup, Denzel Dumfries will hope to feature ahead of Matteo Darmian on the right flank, while Ivan Perisic is favoured to occupy the opposite side.

Though they have maintained a proud defensive record in his absence, Napoli warmly welcome back defensive mainstay Kalidou Koulibaly for the trip to Milan, following his suspension last time out.

Back-up options Diego Demme and Adam Ounas are both expected to remain unavailable and winger Matteo Politano has tested positive for COVID-19, so Hirving Lozano could start in the latter's place.

Luciano Spalletti otherwise has a fully fit squad to select from, as Kostas Manolas and Kevin Malcuit are back in the reckoning following lengthy layoffs. Therefore, the visitors' coach will name a familiar-looking 4-2-3-1 formation, led by nine-goal top scorer Victor Osimhen up front.

Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, Ranocchia, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Correa, Martinez

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Rui; Anguissa, Ruiz; Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Osimhen

We say: Inter Milan 1-1 Napoli

Inter are seldom beaten on home soil, so will not succumb easily to the Napoli juggernaut which has powered through Serie A at the start of this season.

This encounter has a low-scoring draw stamped all over it, as both sides are well-organised defensively but contain too many attacking talents to be held by the other for a full 90 minutes.

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