February has been looked at for months as the stretch of matches that could define Inter Milan’s 2021-2022 season. So far, the month has seen Inter lose against Milan in the league but progress to the Coppa Italia semifinals with a win over Roma. The final major Serie A test of this month will come on Satruday in the form of a trip to Naples to face Luciano Spaletti’s Napoli. After the Milan loss, a win over Napoli would be a huge stabilizing boost to Inter’s Scudetto push.
Napoli defeated Venezia 2-0 on striker Victor Osimhen’s return from injury after suffering multiple facial fractures when he clashed heads with Milan Skriniar in the previous fixture between these two teams. The Nigerian international scored on his return and will be looking to get on the scoresheet after the way his last match against Inter ended.
Napoli sit in second place, just one point behind Inter, having played a match more than the leaders. Spaletti will also be welcoming back star defender Kalidou Koulibaly and midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa from their respective AFCON campaigns, where Koulibaly’s Senegal took home the trophy and Anguissa’s Cameroon bowed out at the semifinal stage. With a full squad, Napoli will be looking to take an important win for their season.
Inter were active in midweek in their 2-0 win over Roma, where they took home a tidy 2-0 win with goals from Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez. For large stretches of the match, Inter looked like they were conserving energy with this match in mind. Napoli have not played since Sunday, so they may be a bit fresher, but not by much.
Inter will be without the suspended and injured Alessandro Bastoni, who is reportedly already progressing with his sprained ankle suffered in the win against Roma. They will also be without manager Simone Inzaghi on the touchline, as he also picked up a suspension in the aftermath of the Derby della Madoninna loss. Inzaghi has yet to pick up a win in Naples in his managerial career, a trend his team and assistant Massimiliano Farris will be looking to buck. Also worth noting, it is yet to be seen whether Danilo D’Ambrosio or Federico Dimarco will slot into the backline in the place of Bastoni.
3-2 (H) - 21/11/2021
1-1 (A) - 18/4/2021
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Napoli 1-1 Inter
This will likely be one of those matches that neither team wants to lose, making for a cagey affair that features very little space for either side. Lautaro always seems to show up against Napoli, so maybe facing them will be just the remedy he needs to get off of his current stretch of just one goal in his last 16 matches. A draw would not be the end of the world for Inter, but pulling out a win would be huge for the rest of the season.