The return from the International break brings a Super Sunday Serie A clash at The San Paolo as AC Milan and Napoli square off in a top-of-the-table clash.
Milan legend Gennaro Gattuso hosts his former side with the chance to leapfrog the table-topping Rossoneri. To do that, however, he must stifle the League’s high-flyers and his Ex-teammate Zlatan Ibrahimović in particular, Serie A’s top scorer who is going strong at the young age of 39.
Gatusso, who featured in many such high-stakes Serie A games in the colours of Milan will indeed relish the occasion as much as his opponents who are decisively back amongst the title contenders after years of turmoil.
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Much of Milan’s turnaround is owed to Stefano Pioli who has overseen a sharp upturn in fortunes on the field by virtue of his expansive style.
Although Pioli has been overseeing training for this encounter in isolation having contracted Covid-19, he will provide match instructions via video communication with his staff. That, however, cannot daunt Milan who will be giving their all to preserve their vantage spot on the table.
Indeed AC Milan may have lost their 24-game unbeaten run in Europe, they remain undefeated in Serie A after toiling to a rollercoaster 2-2 draw against Verona. The international break will have perhaps been perfectly-timed to renew their focus.
The Rossoneri are a fierce unit with Rafael Leão, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Ante Rebić spearheaded by Ibrahimović. The midfield has become an effective engine room marshalled by Franck Kessié and Ismaël Bennacer.
On the other hand, Gattuso will be forced to revert to last season’s approach without Bakayoko’s steel in midfield and Osimhen’s industry in attack.
The Partenopei have played in these crunch games against Juventus in recent years. Given the Old Lady’s wobble early in Andrea Pirlo’s managerial career, this is a chance to stamp their authority in the Italian top-flight.
The threat of the resurgent giants in AC Milan only ramps up the excitement for this one.