Gennaro Gattuso’s Napoli face an early check of their title ambitions towards Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s league leaders AC Milan on Sunday in a conflict between two former teammates chasing the Scudetto.
Each Ibrahimovic, 39, and 42-year-old Gattuso performed collectively at AC Milan when the membership gained the final of their 18 Serie A titles again in 2011.
Since then Juventus have dominated in Italy and are pushing for a tenth consecutive league title.
Milan are high of Serie A after seven rounds with a two-point benefit on second-placed Sassuolo, with Napoli an extra level again in third.
Juventus are fifth, 4 factors behind the leaders, after a stuttering begin beneath new coach Andrea Pirlo.
“I do not like listening to speak in regards to the Scudetto,” mentioned Napoli coach Gattuso, urging his gamers to “relax” as they aim a primary league title since 1990.
Former World Cup winner Gattuso spent 13 years as a participant with AC Milan, additionally teaching the membership between 2017 and 2019.
AC Milan are travelling with out head coach Stefano Pioli and his assistant Giacomo Murelli, each out with coronavirus.
“Everyone knows the nice significance of this match, we’re prepared,” mentioned Milan midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers.
“The coach did an amazing job within the earlier months and on Sunday we need to play and win for him too.”
Statistics favour Napoli who’re unbeaten of their final 11 clashes towards AC Milan.
Milan’s final league win in Naples was again in October 2010, the season of their final Scudetto, with Ibrahimovic on the scoresheet.
However Napoli have misplaced their final two dwelling video games, and might be with out ahead Victor Osimhen, injured on worldwide obligation with Nigeria. Albanian defender Elseid Hysaj additionally examined optimistic for Covid-19 through the worldwide break.
Juventus host Cagliari, who they misplaced to again in July, needing all three factors to maintain among the many main group, with a run of 10 matches in all competitions within the subsequent 4 weeks.
Defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini are nonetheless sidelined however Matthijs de Ligt ought to get his first sport since present process shoulder surgical procedure in August.
Second-placed Sassuolo look to maintain the momentum going at eighth-placed Hellas Verona.
Atalanta and Inter Milan settled for a 1-1 draw towards one another final day out and want a optimistic outcome earlier than subsequent week’s Champions League blockbusters towards Liverpool and Actual Madrid respectively.
Sixth-placed Atalanta play away towards Spezia with Inter Milan, a degree behind in seventh, at dwelling towards Torino.
Antonio Conte’s Inter have taken simply six factors for his or her final 5 video games, with a number of gamers out with the virus together with Marcelo Brozovic and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Atalanta have additionally misplaced momentum in current video games after scoring 13 objectives of their first three video games, with only one win of their final 4 video games.
Lazio, in the meantime, head for Crotone with star striker Ciro Motionless anticipated to return from isolation however Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic Savic was contaminated throughout worldwide obligation.
AS Roma, in fourth, host Parma with out ahead Edin Dzeko one in every of a number of gamers out with Covid, as they aim a return to Champions League soccer subsequent season.
One to observe:
Former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli returns to the Fiorentina bench after a decade along with his first sport towards promoted Benevento.
Fiorentina are twelfth after profitable two of their opening seven matches.
Whereas Prandelli was in cost between 2005-2010 the membership certified twice for the Champions League and reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals.
14: AC Milan’s unbeaten away run
11: Napoli’s streak with out a loss towards AC Milan
8: Ibrahimovic’s league objectives this season
0 – AC Milan, Sassuolo and Juve’s defeats
Fixtures (all occasions GMT)
Crotone v Lazio (1400GMT), Spezia v Atalanta (1700GMT), Juventus v Cagliari (1945GMT)
Fiorentina V Benevento (1130GMT), Hellas Verona v Sassuolo, Inter Milan v Torino, AS Roma v Parma, Sampdoria v Bologna (all 1400GMT), Udinese v Genoa (1700GMT), Napoli v AC Milan (1945GMT)