Napoli vs Inter – Preview: The End-of-Season Formalities..






Stadio San Paolo, Napoli

May 16 2011, 00:15 hrs IST (+0530 GMT)


It’s the penultimate weekend in Serie A and Napoli play hosts to Inter Milan, who lost the Serie A title in midweek for the first time in six years. Both the teams will be fighting for the second and third spots. Inter are four points ahead of Napoli and anything but a loss would guarantee a runners-up place in Serie A.

Napoli, on the other hand, will have to beat Inter and then, follow it up with a victory against Juventus and hope that their opponents from this week stumble against Catania next week to clinch an unlikely second spot behind champions Milan. It looks bleak as Napoli are currently on a bad run with just one win in their last four games.

Napoli haven't been in the best of forms.

Inter will not be celebrating like they did last year when they won the treble. There’s nothing much to play for in the league and a draw will guarantee the second spot. It’s been an exhausting season for Inter and they will be hoping to finish it on a high, paving way to a better next season. However, they have a chance at silverware in the Coppa Italia when they face Palermo on the 29th of May. It is still quite far, but Inter will be looking to enter it on a high.

The last time these two teams played was in the quarter-final of the Coppa Italia back in January when it ended 0-0 after 120 minutes at the San Paolo; Inter going onto win 5-4 on penalties.



Edison Cavani – Napoli’s top scorer – will miss the clash due to suspension and so will Mascara because of the same reason. Napoli will line up with their usual 3-4-2-1 with Sanctis in goal. Campagnaro, Cannavaro, and Ruiz will form the defensive three while Maggio, Gargano, Yebda, and Dossena will be the midfielders. Zuniga and Hamsik will be the creative forces of their team while Lavezzi will be the lone man up front.

Napoli must utilize home advantage and hit the visitors right from the kick-off. Expect Hamsik to cause Cambiasso and the defenders behind him a lot of problems if Napoli are to end their run of bad form.

Probable Starting XI: De Sanctis; Campagnaro-Cannavaro-Ruiz; Maggio-Gargano-Yebda-Dossena; Zuniga- Hamsik; Lavezzi

football formations


Sneijder and Stankovic are still in the treatment rooms nursing their injuries and Samuel is a long term casualty. However, the rest of the team should be available for Leonardo.

Julio Cesar will start in goal. Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia and Chivu will fill the back four slots while Zanetti, Cambiasso, Kharja and Coutinho will form the midfield. Eto’o, who has been Inter’s best player this season will be partnered by Pazzini, who himself has been a revelation at the Guiseppe Meazza.

Eto’o is expected to drift down the left to combine with Zanetti and providing the delivery to Pazzini. Inter’s defense has been shaky this season and thus, Cambiasso’s role to keep tabs on Hamsik is a crucial one.

Probable Starting XI: Julio Cesar; Maicon-Lucio-Ranocchia-Chivu; Zanetti-Cambiasso-Kharja-Coutinho; Eto’o-Pazzini

Key Facts

  1. Napoli have only won one out of their last four games. They have lost the other three.
  2. The last four contests between these two at the San Paolo have ended in scoreless draws.
  3. Inter are on a three game winning streak in the Serie A.

Form Guide

Napoli: L-W-L-L-W

Inter: D-W-W-W-W


Marek Hamsik (Napoli) – Hamsik has been a sensation in Napoli, scoring 13 times and providing 7 assists in all competitions. The 23-year old Slovakia International will be the key man for Napoli if they are to beat Inter. His link-up play with Lavezzi will be important for Napoli to go past a porous Inter defence.

Eto’o is at his best this season.

Samuel Eto’o (Inter) –Pazzini has been quite a revelation, but it’s still Eto’o on whom Inter depend for their goals. The Cameroon International has been the player of the season for Inter having scored 34 goals in all competitions.

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Napoli 0-0 Inter

Although Napoli have an outside chance of sneaking that second spot, they will know that it’ll be hard to win against Juventus next week at Turin and to Inter to lose to Catania in the same week. Inter, on the other hand, will be looking to play out the match and guarantee their second spot. With the recent history of goalless draws between these teams, both teams will be happy to play out a draw.