Tonight Inter take on Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo at 20.45 CET in the Serie A in the first competitive fixture of the new decade for both teams.
Inter’s previous 5 results have seen the Nerazzuri take 3 wins and 2 draws, meanwhile Napoli have only managed 1 win out of their last 5 matches with 2 defeats and 2 draws.
Previous meetings between the two clubs have Napoli edging ahead on 10 wins compared to Inter’s 7 and 7 matches ending in a draw. Inter are joint top in the Serie A with Juventus, both on 42 points with Inter ahead on goal difference.
Napoli are lower than expected in 8th place on 24 points, almost half of what Inter and Juve have, two teams they were supposed to be challenging for the Scudetto with.
Inter still continue to impress with their prowess going forward, thanks in no small part to new boy Romelu Lukaku who remains Inter’s top scorer with 12 goals, 5 behind leader Ciro Immobile, and average 120 minutes per goal.
Overall Inter have scored 36 goals, the 3rd best in the league, and average 2.12 goals a match and an xG of 1.94 (also 3rd best in the league). The team still remain on top of most matches possession wise also with an average percentage of 54.36 per game.
Napoli are normally a formidable team on the attacking front, but something just is not clicking this year. Their top scorer is Arkadiusz Milik on 6 goals, and its a fair indication that hes averaging 100 minutes goals a game, as he has been off the field most of the time due to injury.
As a team Napoli have scored the 8th most amount of goals in the league so far, with 27 goals and average 1.59 goals per game. They do have the 4th highest average xG in the league at 1.9 which shows they are maybe not making the most of the chances presented to them, whether that can completely fix their issues is another story, but it surely wouldn’t hurt.
Inter remain the best team defensively this year, they have conceded the least amount of goals with only letting in 14, an average of 0.82. Inter also have the lowest xG against averaging just 0.88 per game. Clearly a strong foundation has been built on the solidity of Inter’s defense. There is nothing much else to say about Inter defensively as they have just been solid.
Napoli meanwhile haven’t been terrible, but not as solid as they usually were last season. They have conceded the 7th least amount of goals at 22, an average of 1.29 and the 8th best xG against at 1.37. It will be interesting to see if Napoli’s new head coach Gennaro Gattuso can improve this aspect of their game, as Inter are showing the best way forward is with a formidable defense.
It is rumored that Stefano Sensi will make his full return against Napoli. He made a short appearance off the bench during Inter’s 4-0 win against Genoa last time out. Many are hoping Sensi can pick up where he left off before his injury and drive Inter’s attack forward as they have been a little lackluster since he departed a few weeks ago.
Napoli will surely be looking toward Lorenzo Insigne if they are to get a result tonight. Insigne has been ever present this season for Napoli but has only managed 3 league goals so far, somewhat short of what many people expect from the captain. Maybe now with a new coach, system and a better dynamic within the squad will see Napoli climb back up towards the top four, but insigne needs to lead by example and show what he can do.
This is a difficult match to predict, based on form Inter will walk out victors with very little trouble, but Napoli have proven they can beat Inter many times and certainly should not be underestimated. Napoli have a quality squad that are underperforming and will pick their form back up, and they will see this opportunity to scalp the league leaders and will not lack for motivation.
If Inter can keep a tight hold on Insigne and Mertens then that will go a long way to keeping the result in their own hands, and the pressure will be on Lukaku and Lautaro to take any chances they get, as they might not get many at all.