It has been 27 years since a SSC Napoli team have beaten an AC Milan team at the San Siro in Serie A league play. On Sunday, these two teams face off in a game where Napoli will end that winless streak and beat Milan because they are the far better team.
While these two teams come off having won midweek in Champions League play, they come into the game under two very different circumstances given their play on so far in the 2013-14 season.
Going into Sunday’s game, Napoli find themselves atop of Serie A, having won their first three games and looking like the well-oiled counterattacking machine that many expected they would be with first-year coach Rafael ‘Rafa’ Benitez.
As for Milan, they come in having won four points through their first three games. While they have either won or drawn all but two of their games in either league or Champions League play, coach Massimiliano Allegri‘s team has failed to look like a squad with any tactical understanding out on the field.
Napoli are a team who are very precise and clinical when it comes to counterattacking, with the likes of Marek Hamsik, Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain leading the attack.
With the departure of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain, Hamsik has taken his play to another level by showing more of a willingness and comfort in stepping foot inside the penalty box and taking more shots on goal, while Insigne has continued to improve after a breakout season in 2012-13. Higuain has so far proven to be the reliable goal-scorer they expected him to be after signing him from Real Madrid this summer.
As for Milan, they are a team that has yet to convince its fans that it can win a trophy this season. While Mario Balotelli and his individual exploits have been something for Milan and its fans to hang their hats on, there is nothing else about Milan that one can point to as a positive other than saying that they somehow are one lucky team to pull out a draw and a win in their last two games, despite being outplayed by their opponents.
It is precisely because of the fact that Napoli are playing well and look like a team with an idea of what to do on the field that they will win on Sunday. At the moment, Napoli head into the game against Milan in a good run of form and are a team full of confidence in their quest to ending the drought, as exhibited by comments made by Higuain after their Champions League win on Wednesday.
As if the fact that Napoli are the better team on the field weren’t enough of a reason to pick them to win over Milan on Sunday, Napoli also have the advantage of having the better coach.
Rafa Benitez is without question recognized and mentioned as one of the best managers in the sport and is known for being a very smart tactical coach. Allegri, on the other hand, is anything but as his tactical acumen has been questioned and severely judged since the beginning of last season.
In addition, Milan have failed to win at least 50 percent of the points up for grabs under Allegri when it faces one of the top five teams in the league, which they will do on Sunday against Milan. I see this game being a 3-1 win for Napoli, who will make Milan pay for their bad play so far this season and just as importantly, end a 27-year winless streak against Milan at the San Siro.