Robinho proved that he could prove a useful asset in AC Milan’s Serie A title bid this season by taking advantage of a rare start against Napoli.
The summer signing has often been employed from the bench so far as coach Massimiliano Allegri has opted to start Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho as his forward three.
However, with injury ruling the latter out of the trip to Napoli, Robinho starred in the hole behind the two strikers, providing an array of tidy passes and keeping the ball on the move.
This was especially critical as Napoli were very compact in their set up, but gave Milan enough space to shine.
He also scored the opening goal in the 2-1 victory, while Ronaldinho is still waiting to find the target this season despite being chosen in the same role.
Robinho has highlighted the importance of the win in helping Milan overhaul neighbours Inter and move into second place in the Serie A standings, two points behind Lazio.
He said: “It was a tough match, but they are three very important points. I was played as a support striker and am pleased I got a chance to start.”
Milan are now 6/4 to win the Serie A title and a victory over one of their biggest challengers next could enhance their prospects further.
Allegri must decide whether to stick with Robinho for the visit of Juventus or recall Ronaldinho, who is likely to have recovered from his minor problem.
However, Juventus, who currently sit fifth in the standings, will definitely be without striker Amuari after injuring his right Achilles tendon in the recent draw with Bologna.
Vincenzo Iaquinta is set to feature though after getting a knock on his knee in the same game.
Juventus are 11/2 at present to win Serie A and have seven points to make up on Lazio. See the full Serie A winners market.