Napoli have a huge, huge match against Inter Milan this weekend. Sitting atop Serie A but coming off a poor showing against Manchester City in the Champions League, Napoli need to bounce back with another big win in order to assert their dominance over the top Italian league and keep their momentum moving in the right direction.
To that end, we reached out to one of our sister blogs in SB Nation Soccer — Inter Milan site Serpents of Madonnina, and their managing editor Matt Clark. He was kind enough to answer some questions we had about the match, and
The Siren’s Song: We are well into the season. Now that you have seen Napoli both in Serie A and Champions League play, what is your assessment of the team?
Serpents of Madonnina: The Nerazzurri have impressed thus far. I am not sure any Interisti expected the squad to be in the position it is in. That said, they have done it in a cardiac kind of way. Eleven of their 17 goals this season have come in the second half and a majority of those have come late. Either Inter will keep riding that wave until it burns them, or they are going to have start scoring earlier in games.
TSS: For this match, which member of Napoli will be the most crucial and why? Which matchups are you most excited about?
SoM: Mauro Icardi has led the way for Inter this season, but I think Ivan Perisic has to step up. He has been a playmaker, but he needs to find the back of the net. Napoli isn’t stupid and they are going to mark Icardi. This means Perisic will have to take advantage of that and get himself in space to make things happen.
TSS: Which Napoli player impresses you the most and which one scares you the most?
SoM: My biggest concern is Napoli’s offense as a whole. It’s no secret the biggest concern for Inter has been its defense. Milan Skriniar has been effective, but other members of the defense have to show up. Napoli knows how to score and, if given an opening, will do so at will. Lorenzo Insigne is a force to be reckoned with.
TSS: Last, but certainly not least, pick the game. What’s the final score and how does the game flow?
SoM: This game worries me. Inter has been strong on the road. That said, the competition the Nerazzurri has faced on the road hasn’t been sparkling. Crotone, Bologna and Benevento aren’t striking fear into many at the moment. This one is going to be close and I would like to think a late goal by Perisic will push Inter into first with a 2-1 win.