Napoli prepare to host AC Milan at the Stadio Maradona on Sunday, with either side being able to top the table with a win.
Locked together on 57 points, Napoli started the season with eight successive wins, while their opponents began in a similar style, but they both have experienced several shifts of momentum.
Napoli have accumulated the most points and conceded the fewest goals in Serie A in the second half of the season, but they had drawn their last two league games and were beaten by Barcelona in the Europa League before travelling to Rome last weekend.
After Pedro sent in an equaliser in the dying moments, Lazio appeared to set a 1-1 draw, extending Napoli’s winless run to a fourth game.
However, Napoli snatched victory with Fabian Ruiz’s stoppage-time goal, sparking celebrations and an emotional response from manager Luciano Spalletti.
Gli Azzurri now have a league-high 10 goals from outside the box, largely courtesy of long-range specialist Ruiz’s six goals, which sees him also topping the individual charts.
Following their defeat at home in December, AC Milan have won only one of their last 14 league encounters with Napoli, losing eight matches in the process.
Milan will travel south having scrapped out a goalless draw in the second Derby della Madonnina of the season on Tuesday, as they were held by Inter in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.
Having previously seen Inter lose to Sassuolo in Serie A, once they had drawn at Salernitana, Pioli’s side again slipped up in the opening game of last weekend, being held 1-1 at home by Udinese due to a controversial equalising goal.
Subsequently, Inter Milan leapfrogged both sides with a victory over Salernitana on Friday, leaving the Scudetto race wide open, while Juventus are back within striking range.
Napoli vs AC Milan head to head
The two sides have previously met on 44 occasions in all competitions, where Napoli have taken 14 victories while Milan have won in 13, and they have drawn in 17. Milan have scored 55 goals and conceded 54. In their last five meetings, Napoli have won twice, Milan once with two draws.
AC Milan 1-1 Napoli23/11/19
Napoli 2-2 AC Milan 12/07/20
Napoli 1-3 AC Milan 22/11/20
AC Milan 0-1 Napoli 14/03/21
AC Milan 0-1 Napoli 19/12/21
Napoli latest home form
Napoli have recently failed to keep a good run of form at home, having lost two of their five most recent matches. They lost their last home game 4-2 to Barcelona in the Europa League. In their last five matches, they have managed to score 10 goals and concede 11.
Napoli 1-0 Sampdoria 09/01/22
Napoli 2-5(E) Fiorentina 13/01/22
Napoli 4-1 Salernitana 23/01/22
Napoli 1-1 Inter Milan 12/02/22
Napoli 2-4 Barcelona 24/02/22
Napoli latest away form
Napoli have recently been on a good run of form on the road, as they have been unbeaten in their eight most recent matches. They recently picked up a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Europa League. In their last five matches, they have scored 8 goals and conceded 3.
Bologna 0-2 Napoli 17/01/22
Venezia 0-2 Napoli 06/02/22
Barcelona 1-1 Napoli 17/02/22
Cagliari 1-1 Napoli 21/02/22
Lazio 1-2 Napoli 27/02/22
AC Milan latest home form
Milan have recently been on a relatively good run of form at home, having been unbeaten in their five most recent matches. They recently managed to pick up a goalless draw against Inter in the Coppa Italia. In their last five matches, they have scored 6 goals and conceded just 1.
AC Milan 0-0 Juventus 23/01/22
AC Milan 4-0 Lazio 09/02/22
AC Milan 1-0 Sampdoria 13/02/22
AC Milan 1-1 Udinese 25/02/22
AC Milan 0-0 Inter Milan 01/03/22
AC Milan latest away form
Milan have recently been on a good run of form on the road, having been unbeaten in their seven most recent matches. They picked up a 2-2 draw against Salernitana in their last league away game. In their last five away matches, they have scored 12 goals and conceded 6.
Udinese 1-1 AC Milan 11/12/21
Empoli 2-4 AC Milan 22/12/21
Venezia 0-3 AC Milan 09/01/22
Inter Milan 1-2 AC Milan 05/02/22
Salernitana 2-2 AC Milan 19/02/22
Spalletti is set to welcome back Hirving Lozano and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa on Sunday, with only defensive reserves Kevin Malcuit and Axel Tuanzebe still sidelined.
Stanislav Lobotka could replace Diego Demme in central midfield, with Lorenzo Insigne starting on the left of the front three, having scored his first goal last weekend.
AC Milan news
Sandro Tonali should return to replace Franck Kessie in the defensive midfield after missing out on Tuesday due to suspension, and should be joined by Ismael Bennacer.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and long-term absentee Simon Kjaer remain out of action, while Alessio Romagnoli is a doubt for Milan due to a thigh problem.
Prediction and Odds
Both sides enter the match with the same number of points and are aware of the importance of winning the game, and we expect a tight contest.
With only a little separating the two teams, and considering Napoli still have a number of absentees, we predict a draw or an away win.
Odds: 1 2.35 X 2.05 2 2.20
Napoli 0-0 AC Milan
Napoli 1-1 AC Milan
Napoli 2-2 AC Milan
Napoli 0-1 AC Milan
Napoli 1-2 AC Milan