By Petar Todorovski
What will Milan – Napoli match decide? That’s the question that arises ahead of the derby between the two best teams in Serie A so far. Milan is first with 55 points; Napoli is now third with 52 points, after the win of Inter against Sampdoria. Rossoneri are not in so great form as some time ago winning five and drawing in four out of last nine matches. They don’t remember when they lost a game for last time.
Napoli are in wonderful form. The team that played in Serie C few seasons ago now fights for the Scudetto, especially after the wonderful run of six wins and one defeat in last seven games. They were second with three points until Sunday, but now Inter holds that position, not for a long time if Azzurri beat the great rival. They were eliminated from Europe League in the midweek fixture against Villareal and now can completely focus on Serie A.
It’s difficult to predict any possible outcome of the game. Both teams are on the same level and rarely loose matches. Rossoneri could extend their lead on six points ahead of Napoli and five ahead of Inter, but with eventual defeat Azzurri will level with them on the table, while Inter would be just two points away from the leader’s position and definitely back in the race. The draw would mean status quo and only Inter would profit with that situation.
Marek Hamsik said that if they lose this game it would mean end of their title hopes. “Yes, in a way, the Scudetto is up for grabs, but we are not the ones playing for it. I think Milan and Napoli are at the same level and it will be a great challenge in every way,” he told the press.
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri also expressed his excitement ahead of the big match. He said that this is like a final for them and revealed the reasons for the success: “With the players I act like a father to his children: I am strict when necessary, but I also know when to listen to their problems. That’s why they always give their best.”
Unlike them, the more experienced opponents are not so excited. Milan head Adriano Galliani said: “The match against Napoli is a very important match, but not decisive in one way or another. There is a lot of anticipation, as first will be playing second, but they are only fighting for three points, and there are 36 points still available. We must remember that winning against Napoli does not mean we will win the Scudetto, or vice-versa.”
Inter boss Leonardo also commented on the match that could decide his team’s role in the rest of the season. “Milan v Napoli? I don’t think that one match can change the outcome of this competition, even if it ends in the draw,” said the Brazilian.
Milan defended went too far commenting that Napoli is not even a rival for Scudetto, expressing his opinion that, aside of them, Inter is the only real competitor. “I think Inter are well equipped to compete until the end,” he told the press.
I think Adriano Galliani was right to say that the game doesn’t mean too much for the Scudetto race. It’s only three points worth, but and at least one of the leading teams will drop some points there.
Most important is the eventual psychological advantage that one of the teams could possibly gain. If one of the teams loses the match, they will have to find a way to pick up from it very fast, while the other would keep flying.
What will Milan – Napoli match decide? Nothing! Although the match is very important.