MILAN – After their win against Cagliari last time out thanks to Darmian’s goal, Inter are preparing to face Napoli at 20:45 CEST on Sunday. The Nerazzurri sit on 74 points heading into the matchday 31 clash in Serie A following eleven consecutive wins in the Italian top flight. Napoli, meanwhile, got the better of Sampdoria in their last fixture and have picked up 59 points following 19 wins, two draws and nine defeats.
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS BETWEEN NAPOLI AND INTER
Inter and Napoli are set to meet for the 150th time in Serie A, with the Nerazzurri’s record against the Partenopei reading as follows: 67 wins, 36 draws, 46 defeats. Napoli have found the net just once in their last three Serie A matches against Inter, who have emerged victorious in all three league fixtures against the team from Naples since Antonio Conte has been at the helm, scoring six goals in the process. The Nerazzurri haven’t picked up four consecutive wins against the Azzurri in Italy’s top division since 2000 (six back then).
Inter came out on top when the two teams last faced each other in Naples in the league. Previously, the Nerazzurri had gone 13 matches without beating the Partenopei on the road in Serie A (D4, L9). Inter haven’t recorded two successive victories in Naples since 1997. Out of all the teams he’s faced more than once as a coach in the Italian top flight, Inter are the side that Gennaro Gattuso has the worst record against in terms of average number of points (0.17: D1, L5). Out of all the coaches he’s come up against on more than one occasion, Antonio Conte is one of two tacticians (alongside Allegri) that Gattuso has always lost to (3/3).
STATE OF PLAY
Inter will take to the pitch at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona after beating Cagliari at home in their last Serie A showdown. Their win against the Sardinians was their eleventh consecutive victory in the Italian top flight: only the Nerazzurri (17 under Mancini in 2006/07) and Juventus (three times: twelve under Conte in 2013/14; 15 in 2015/16 and twelve in 2017/18 under Allegri) have picked up more successive wins in a single league season.
For the fifth time in their history, Napoli have won at least 19 of their first 30 Serie A matches. On the four previous occasions they’ve done this, they’ve always gone on to finish in the top three in the league. With 65 goals to their name, the Partenopei have the third-best attack in Serie A, behind Atalanta (71) and Inter (69). Having conceded 34, they also have the third-best defence, behind Inter and Juventus (both of whom have shipped 27 goals).
On Sunday, the two sides that have scored the most goals in the final 30 minutes of play (34 for Inter, 31 for Napoli) in Serie A this season will come up against each other. The Nerazzurri (19) and the Partenopei (16) are the most prolific sides when it comes to goals scored between minutes 61 and 75.
Lautaro Martínez (three) and Romelu Lukaku (also three, including his penalty which decided the showdown between the sides earlier on in the season) have scored six of the eight Serie A goals that Inter have netted against Napoli since the 2016/17 campaign. Together with Gyasi, Simy, Barrow and João Pedro, the Argentine striker is one of five attackers to have taken to the pitch on all 30 matchdays this campaign.
Out of the forwards who have scored at least five goals this season, only Daniele Verde has played fewer matches as a starter (eight) than Victor Osimhen (nine). The Nigerian has found the net in his last two starts in Serie A.
SUSPENSIONS AND THOSE WALKING THE TIGHTROPE
Lozano - One matchday
ONE BOOKING AWAY FROM SUSPENSION:
Demme, Mario Rui
ONE BOOKING AWAY FROM SUSPENSION: