Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomesportLast two Scudetto winners come face to face as Napoli host Milan

Last two Scudetto winners come face to face as Napoli host Milan

This weekend’s Serie A fixtures pit the last two Scudetto winners against each other, as defending champions Napoli host AC Milan on Sunday.

Juventus dominated the league for almost a decade, winning nine consecutive Serie A titles, but a once all-too-predictable championship has now had three different winners in the last three seasons.

Inter Milan were first to break Juve’s stronghold in 2021, followed by their rivals Milan, before Napoli finally won their third Scudetto last season, and first without Diego Maradona.

Now, those three sides, along with Juventus, are battling it out for this season’s league title, and the Diego Armando Maradona stadium will see Napoli attempt to stay in the title race against Milan.

Last weekend brought the four title contenders closer together, as Inter went top with 22 points after their win away to Torino, Juve’s win over Milan moved them on to 20 points in third place, one point behind Milan and Napoli have 17 points.

Napoli eased the pressure on manager Rudi Garcia with a 3-1 win away to Hellas Verona on Saturday, and despite their inconsistent start, they now find themselves just four points behind Milan, and a win would put them right back in contention.

They will need to improve their poor home record against Milan, however, who have won their last three league meetings in Naples, and also came away with a draw last season in the Champions League which put Napoli out in the quarter-finals.

Garcia will again be without Victor Osimhen, who has a hamstring injury, but Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s return to form is good news, and the Georgian scored twice against Verona and also shone in Tuesday’s Champions League 1-0 win over Union Berlin.

Milan’s two league defeats so far have come against Inter and Juventus, and another loss to a fellow Scudetto challenger could severely damage their title chances.

MOURINHO MISSING

Inter look to maintain top spot but in order to do so, they will need to beat a resurgent AS Roma, and former striker Romelu Lukaku, at the San Siro on Sunday.

Roma have now put together three consecutive league wins, but manager Jose Mourinho won’t be on the bench against his former club after his sending off against Monza last weekend.

Last season Mourinho also missed Roma’s game away to Inter through suspension, but the Portuguese manager dismissed accusations that his latest suspension was intentional.

“Many idiots have said things only an idiot can say. Even more idiotic is that some from the world of football say it,” Mourinho said.

“I am the coach of Roma, I want to be with my team.”

Juventus could temporarily top the table on Saturday when they host Verona. Juve are unbeaten in their last four games, and with no European football to deal with, could have the edge over the other title contenders.

Verona who won their opening two games, have picked up just two points in the seven games since then.

Lazio have already lost four league games this season, but have now won their last two, taking them to 10th in the standings, and on Monday they host high-flying Fiorentina.

Fiorentina lost the Tuscan derby at home to Empoli on Monday, missing the chance to draw level with Juventus, but are still level on points with fourth-placed Napoli.

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