Napoli vs Milan by JerryDrake
Napoli have this calendar:
05.02. Coppa Italia, Roma - Napoli
08.02. Serie A, Napoli - Milan
12.02. Coppa Italia, Napoli - Roma
Milan will play in Naples on Feb.8 and then with Bologna on Feb. 14. The CL fixture with Atletico Madrid is scheduled on Feb. 19.
Yesterday Benitez has given his indirect message to Napoli fans by deciding a turnover in Bergamo. His message says that, if they can not fight for Scudetto, they want to concentrate on Coppa Italia and Europa League. It can be a big mistake as Napoli could risk to lose the third place and the qualification to Champions League.
It is true that Milan still "havent found what they are looking for", as U2 singer Bono Vox would say: they struggled to defeat Verona 1-0 H and Cagliari 2-1 A and lost to Udinese in Coppa Italia. Last Saturday they drew with Torino, that might be seen as negative but it is positive actually.
Torino could have won. Not because I tipped "Torino to win", not only at least! Their coach decided not to risk and preferred to have a sure point rather than looking for a win. With Cerci and Immobile upfront, with such motivations (playing at San Siro and having good chances to be in the World Cup squad), you can not calculate as he did. He had everything to win this match!
Too soon to write about line-ups now. I try to have a general view: Napoli will once again substitute some regulars with some reserves (good reserves). They will not have the time to fix the defense problems we have seen in Bergamo (big mistakes made by Fernandez, Inler and Reina) and all energies will be spent for the double Coppa Italia fixture.
On the Milan side we will see Balotelli back after his suspension. Bonera will be suspended, and without being offensive to him, I think this is a good news for Seedorf, who probably let him play because of their friendship. They played together. Now Bonera play and the Milan defense trembles. No, he is not the best central defender of the Rossoneri.
With Rami and Mexes in the centre of the defense and the return of Abate on the right, and the change of De Sciglio from the right to the left side, Seedorf will have only one problem to solve: the midfield. Too many centralmidfielders play in the wrong place: Honda on the right is losing hope for his Milan experience, the one he dreamed when he was a scholar at the age of 10 (there is a paper where he wrote that he will be rich and play for Milan).
Seedorf must continue with his attacking mentality but he has to have the audacity to let one "star" on the bench (Kaká? Robinho? Honda?) and let one normal player play which can help the team mates in giving more balance. I think of Cristante, one of the best young players we saw this season.
Now, I copy-attach some ratings of Napoli players against Atalanta (source: La Gazzetta dello Sport), ready?
Reina: 4.5 He makes the first mistake in the match
Maggio: 4.5 Now he is becoming a concern, as he is also a regular player of the other Azzurri (the Italian National team)
Fernandez: 4 He had a bad day with German Denis
Reveillere: 5 All lost all duels with Giacomo Bonaventura
Inler: 4.5 His mistake causing the second goal is embarassing
Calljon 4.5: He has never been so little dangerous
Mertens: 5 Very nervous
Zapata: 5 He is young but he lost a good opportunity against Yepes and Lucchini
Higuain: 5.5 The only one being dangerous with one shot. He substitutes Zapata in the 2nd half but it's too late).
Pandev: 6 The best one, at least he makes no big mistakes.
Benitez (coach): 4.5 He is not guilty for the mista
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