Napoli vs Milan Champions League Betting Preview & Predictions.17.04.2023 11:50:14
- Milan head to Naples with a one-goal lead after their 1-0 victory at the San Siro over Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
- The Rossoneri have won all three of their last matches in Naples so recent history is on their side as they search for a spot in the final four.
- Victor Osimhen has returned from injury as the Partenopei’s forward line is back to full fitness but they are still without two key players for the clash.
Fortunately for Napoli, Osimhen made his return to the side at the weekend, appearing off the bench. The Nigerian had missed the club’s previous three games, including the defeat to Milan in the first leg, but he will be back now to try and make amends for the Partenopei.
However, Luciano Spalletti will be dealing with two key absentees, nevertheless, since both Kim Min-jae and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa are suspended. The former has picked up one too many yellow cards in the Champions League, whilst the latter was sent for an early bath in Milan and will miss out on the return leg here as a result.
As for the visitors, they kept a number of key players out of the starting lineup at the weekend to keep them fresh for a mammoth second leg in Naples. Junior Messias has also returned after missing a month of action and should at least make the bench once more for this one.
Other than the known absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Rossoneri are expected to be at full strength for the return fixture, with Pierre Kalulu also making his return to the side.
Champions League Form
Milan proved that their 4-0 victory against Napoli in the league was no fluke as they take a one-goal advantage into the return leg here. A 1-0 win at the San Siro in the first leg of this all-Italian tie gives the Rossoneri the lead, albeit a slender one.
Despite Napoli having plenty of chances, they failed to convert, whilst Ismael Bennacer was able to get the better of Alex Meret in between the sticks for the Azzurri. It was the opposite for Milan’s ‘keeper since Mike Maignan put in a star performance as his return for the club continues to prove vital.
Stout defensive performances have been key to Milan’s success in Europe so far this term and they have conceded just seven goals through nine games. They have also kept five consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League, having yet to concede a goal in the knockout stages thus far.
Although it hasn’t been as plain sailing for Napoli as of late, they do maintain a 100% record at the Diego Maradona Stadium in Europe this season and that will give them confidence that they will be able to overturn the deficit in the return leg.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Napoli 25, Milan 14
Goals Against: Napoli 7, Milan 7
Both Teams To Score %: Napoli 33%, Milan 22%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Napoli 67%, Milan 44%
The Rossoneri are hoping to become the first team to defeat Napoli three times in one campaign since Lazio did so during the 1994/95 season. Milan head into this one after securing back-to-back victories against Napoli and they have won all three of their last meetings in Campania, with their last defeat coming back in 2018.
However, Napoli have beaten Milan this season and were able to record a 2-1 win at the San Siro earlier this term in league play, without Osimhen as well.
Gli Azzurri have certainly suffered a dip in form of late, which has largely coincided with the fitness issues of their star forward. Napoli have won just one of their last three Serie A matches and were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Verona at the weekend, failing to really test the visitors’ goal.
Nevertheless, they are still on course to win the Scudetto this term and maintain a 14-point gap at the summit with just eight games to go. It was only the beginning of this month that Napoli suffered a 4-0 defeat at the Maradona against Milan - it appears that Stefano Pioli could have the Partenopei’s number.
Despite the European success thus far for the Rossoneri, their league form has failed to improve. Although they did record that stunning victory in Naples, two draws have followed since - 0-0 at home to Empoli and 1-1 away to Bologna. However, it does seem that Pioli is resting a number of key players in their league outings, with the likes of Rafael Leao, Theo Hernandez and Olivier Giroud all starting on the bench on Saturday.
Milan are just about clinging on to fourth spot in Serie A but sit just two points ahead of rivals Inter who occupy fifth. Of course, if Juventus see their 15 points returned, that will mean Pioli’s men drop outside the top four, as things stand. It will be a frantic end to the campaign and an enthralling watch in the hunt for Champions League football next term - perhaps Milan will be dreaming of going all the way in this season’s European adventure to secure their spot next year.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Napoli 1-1 Milan @ 6/1 The return of Osimhen certainly hands Napoli a massive boost for this one and he will be itching to make an impact for his side in the return leg here. However, we are expecting Milan to up their game in Europe and just about see the job through to make it to the last four, with Magic Mike likely starring in goal once more. The hosts will also be hit hard by the absences of Kim Min-jae and Anguissa.
Victor Osimhen To Have 2+ Shots On Target @ 5/6 The Nigerian was eased back into action at the weekend but he should now be back up to full fitness to make an impact here and end the season strongly for Napoli. Osimhen has also recorded five shots on target in his last two Champions League outings.
Davide Calabria To Be Carded @ 9/5 The Milan captain has picked up consecutive bookings in his last two games, including one in the first leg at the San Siro. He faces a difficult task at trying to handle Kvicha Kvaratskhelia so looks likely to pick up another card in this one.
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