Napoli vs Milan: Champions to settle for a hard-earned point
With Inter and Roma struggling and Juventus under Antonio Conte still an unknown quantity, Napoli and Milan are arguably the clubs best prepared to fight for first. The hosts enter this clash with a two-point advantage – will they still be in front at full-time?
Neither team have lost yet this season and both gave Serie A’s reputation in Europe a considerable boost in midweek with superb Champions League results, Milan drawing in Barcelona and Napoli holding Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Napoli made the more convincing start to domestic matters last weekend with a 3-1 victory at Cesena, while the champions were forced to come from behind for a point against Lazio at San Siro, and the Partenopei are rated favourites at 6/4.
The visitors are surprisingly lengthy at 15/8 given that they beat Napoli home and away last term, with Walter Mazzarri’s men regularly disappointing on the big occasions, collecting just a point from a possible 18 against top-four rivals.
Massimiliano Allegri heads south with a depleted squad though, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Kevin-Prince Boateng are among the absentees, so a third draw in succession would be a respectable result for the evens title favourites at 11/5.
Both sides opened the campaign with fixtures that involved four goals and both of their meetings in 2010-11 contained three, so over 2.5 goals is to be expected at evens.
Another frequent feature of the matches that the pair have been involved in so far has been that neither have kept a clean sheet or been shut out in their combined five competitive outings, hinting that both teams to score should be backed at 8/11.
Those seeking meatier odds can find 6/1 on Nou Camp goal-getter Alexandre Pato bursting out of the blocks once again to fire in the opening goal.