Napoli come into Monday's match against AC Milan with one goal in mind: re-take first place in Serie A. They'll have to get past AC Milan to do so, but Napoli can't expect the same walk in the park against them that they had at the San Siro a few months ago.
First off, a disclaimer: this will be a rather more brief and utilitarian preview than normal because I'm working with a broken hand and just can't type as much as my normal previews would take right now. Sorry.
So, the situation is this: because Juventus drew on Friday, Napoli are just two points behind them and can pass them to reclaim first place. Milan have been much improved of late, though, so a win isn't guaranteed -- Napoli will need to vastly improve over their recent performances.
Their only guaranteed absence will be Alberto Grassi, though Jorginho is still a question mark after missing the Villarreal match with a viral infection. Milan are rather more beat up -- Alessio Romagnoli, Jose Mauri, Ignazio Abate, and Juraj Kucka are all in Milan's squad, but will be at less than 100% after dealing with recent illnesses and injuries. They'll also be without Philippe Mexes and Rodrigo Ely, leainv their back line a little on the thin side.
Milan's attack finally rounding into good form -- spearheaded by Carlos Bacca and M'Baye Niang -- and their midfield has been playing with more consistent quality as well. That means this will be a tough match, and Napoli's recently inconsistent form will have them needing to step up in a big way. They haven't scored in consecutive matches for the first time all season. Gonzalo Higuain hasn't scored in two weeks. Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne haven't been as sharp as normal.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
AC Milan: Donnarumma; Abate, Alex, Romagnoli, Antonelli; Honda, Montolivo, Bertolacci, Bonaventura; Niang, Bacca
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejon, Higuain, Insigne
At A Glance
AC Milan: 6th; 12W 7D 6L; League Form: WDWWD
Napoli: 2nd; 17W 5D 3L; League Form: LWWWW
Reverse Fixture: AC Milan 0-4 Napoli
Napoli kicked the sh*t out of Milan back in October, beating them down and humiliating them so badly that they started scoring on themselves just to stop giving up wondergoals. The match started out a bit slow, but once Napoli got rolling in the second half there was just not stopping them.
TV: beIN Sports (U.S), Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sports 1 HD Italia (Italy), BT Sport Europe (U.K.), RAI International
Online: FuboTV, beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), Sky Go Italia (Italy), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter, and we'll have updates of the most important events on our Facebook page, which you should definitely like.