Milan vs. Napoli: Full Serie A Preview

Matteo Bonetti@@TheCalcioGuyContributor IApril 11, 2013

NAPLES, ITALY - NOVEMBER 17:  Philippe Mexes (L) of Milan pulls the shirt of Edinson Cavani of Napoli during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AC Milan at Stadio San Paolo on November 17, 2012 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

It's being billed as the most important match of the season for both clubs: Napoli will travel to the San Siro to take on Milan for the ultimate second-place battle.

As it stands, the Partenopei have a four point lead over Milan, who could change that as they haven't lost a match domestically in 2013.

However, the Rossoneri will be without their star striker Mario Balotelli as he was suspended for three matches after allegedly insulting the linesman.

Balotelli's suspension is shocking, as he was visibly angered after receiving a slew of racist monkey chants from Fiorentina supporters at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Super Mario motioned to the referee to stop the game, but his cries went unnoticed, leading to the post-match blow-up. 

Expect Milan's appeal to reduce Balotelli's ban to two games rather than three.


Probable Formations

Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati, Abate, Mexes, Zapata, De Sciglio; Flamini, Montolivo, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaarawy.

Napoli (3-4-1-2): De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Gamberini; Maggio, Behrami, Dzemaili, Zuniga; Hamsik, Pandev, Cavani.


Key Points

Edinson Cavani has found his scoring boots after a surprising dry spell domestically. The Uruguayan bomber is currently the Serie A capocannoniere with 22 goals on the season. However, the main threat for Napoli has been Blerim Dzemaili, the midfielder who has managed to net four times in the past two matches. His long-distance shots from outside the area will mean either one of Milan's midfielders having to give him special attention when he creeps forward.

Giampaolo Pazzini had a fantastic second half of the season with Milan until a brutal challenge against Genoa kept him out of action until recently. He gives Milan a different look up-front as he can hold up play and shield himself against defenders, giving the wingers time to come up the flanks.

In the end, it's a match which could realistically secure second place for Napoli if they manage a win, or give Milan a fighting chance to avoid the always tricky Champions League qualifiers, which will be a reality for the team that finishes third in the standings.