Inter Milan look to continue their revival under Claudio Ranieri as they host a high-flying Napoli side at the San Siro on Saturday evening.
But the club from Naples travel north to Milan without striker Edinson Cavani after he picked up an ankle knock during Napoli’s midweek 2-0 victory over Villarreal in the Champions League. He had said after the game that there was a 50-50 chance of being fit for the weekend but he has failed to travel with the rest of the squad.
But Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis believes his side can still go to Inter and get a result despite being denied the of the services of the Uruguayan, the top scorer in Serie A last season.
De Laurentiis spoke to the media before Inter’s game and he said,
“I am saddened for Cavani because I know how much it hurts him to miss this game. But it’s the time to give an opportunity to other players to show their value.”
Napoli have not won at Inter since 1994 though that can be atrributed to the fact that the Naples outfit have spent most of that time in the lower divisions of Italy.
De Laurentiis added,
“The game at Inter is a beautiful one for many reasons. A long time has passed since we last won there.
“Moreover, Inter have found the light under new coach (Claudio) Ranieri.
“It’s going to be a lively match and it will be a great spectacle.”
Walter Mazzarri, Napoli’s manager, will be hoping that the trio of Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Goran Pandev can produce the goods in attack as they look to prise open Inter’s defense which has looked wobbly this season.
The hosts meanwhile will be hoping to continue their recent revival under Ranieri after enduring a dismal start to the season under now-sacked coach Gian Piero Gasperini. Ranieri seems to have found the formula to make Inter win instantly, though problems with his defensive setup continue.
Inter shipped in another two goals in midweek to CSKA Moscow and even though Inter managed to scrape through in the end to win 3-2, their defense looked all over the place at times. Lucio and Javier Zanetti were beaten far too easily by Vagner Love in the Champions League and they will hoping for a better performance as they look to shore things up at the back. But defender Yuto Nagatomo believes that it’s winning that matter at the end of the day. He said,
“Ranieri is a great coach and we like him very much. We are playing better, we are improving and we are winning, which is the most important thing.”
Inter are sitting well below Napoli in the Serie A table in sixteenth place but the difference between them is only three points. The hosts are still without Wesley Sneijder, Dejan Stankovic, Ivan Cordoba, Maicon and Thiago Motta. Striker Giampaolo Pazzini will undergo a late fitness test on Saturday to determine if he’s available for selection.
Players to Watch:
Internazionale: Esteban Cambiasso.
The Nerazzurri are missing a lot of big names in midfield for this clash and the onus falls to the Argentine Cambiasso to tighten up the midfield and break up Napoli’s attacks. He will be charged with the responsibility of keeping a tight leash on Hamsik.
Napoli: Marek Hamsik.
The Slovakian midfielder will have extra resposibility on his shoulders as he will be without the support of Cavani up front. How he links up with Lavezzi and Pandev will be key to Napoli’s hopes of snatching a win.
Prediction: Inter are enjoying a revival under Ranieri but Napoli could gate crash the party on Saturday evening and despite being without Cavani, the Partenopei could pick up all three points at the San Siro.