It's time to go again, with Inter Milan coming to the San Paolo to try their luck against Napoli. Can Roberto Mancini's squad finally get a win against Napoli this season? Let's hope not.
The Dreaming Mancinis
Inter are still basically the same side that Napoli faced in February in the Coppa Italia, but with another month with Roberto Mancini under their belt, they're starting to suffer from delusions of adequacy of late. Fiorentina gave them a proper spanking a week ago to prove how wrong they were about that, and now they've got to prepare for this match with divided priorities thanks to their upcoming Europa League match against Wolfsburg.
Inter are mostly healthy at the moment, with Maruo Icardi being deemed fit enough for inclusion in the squad and new signing Dias Felipe being included as well. It's unlikely that either start, however. Mancini's lineups have been tough to guess of late, especially after Inter's January transfer binge, but it seems likely that they'll be go with a fairly strong lineup to try and punish any weaknesses or mistakes that Napoli show.
Revenge On Their Minds
Napoli will be eager to settle the score and prove their superiority after the shatteringly disappointing loss they suffered at the hands of Torino last weekend. Napoli will also be wanting to improve their result in the league against Inter from earlier this season, when the Nerazzurri twice came from behind to draw Napoli at the San Siro.
They'll have to do it without Christian Maggio and Walter Gargano, who are again out after missing out the midweek match against Lazio. There is one piece of good news on the injury front: Camilo Zuniga is in the matchday squad. The news comes just days after being declared fit to return to full training, and while it's unlikely that he'll be anywhere near fit to start, just having the Colombian available again is great news.
While it seems likely that Napoli will go in to this with a relatively full-strength starting eleven, it's hard to judge what kind of rotation we might see. Many of Napoli's players are decently well-rested at the moment, so with a match against Dinamo Moscow coming up on Thursday, there's a good chance that not much rotation is needed. This is Rafa Benitez we're talking about, though, so the chances that any given spot sees the best player available is a coin-flip during a congested schedule run.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Napoli: Andujar; Mesto, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Lopez, Inler; Gabbiadini, Hamsik, Callejon; Higuain
Inter: Handanovic; Campagnaro, Juan, Ranocchia, Santon; Guarin, Medel, Hernanes; Shaqiri; Palacio, Podolski
At a glance
Inter: 9th; 9W 8D 8L; League Form: LWWWLL
Napoli: 3rd; 13W 6D 6L; League Form: LWLWWW
Last Time Out: Napoli 1-0 Inter (Coppa Italia)
It was just a month ago that we last saw Inter, playing incredibly flat and uninspiring football en route to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of a Napoli side that themselves didn't play all that well. The game had seemed fated to head to extra time when Inter's defense suffered a laughably poor breakdown in defending a throw-in, with Faouzi Ghoulam finding Gonzalo Higuain behind the defense and punishing the rather fortunate Inter error. The full recap of the match can be found here.
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