The Champions League quarter-final matches will be settled on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a double-header each evening. Chelsea host Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge in what’s sure to be an explosive evening in London. The Spanish La Liga and Champions League holders enjoy a 2-0 lead over Frank Lampard’s team and are expected to progress without too much fuss. But it’s dangerous to write off a team of Chelsea’s caliber. You can read our in-depth preview of the Chelsea v Real Madrid game elsewhere on our site.
This page focuses on matters in Italy and an all-Serie A quarter-final involving Napoli and AC Milan. Italian football is strong in this season’s tournament but will lose one team. There’s only room for one of these great sides in the last four, but which team will secure its passage to the next round? Keep reading to learn the thoughts and predictions of our team of football writers. We preview Napoli v AC Milan, covering the recent form of both, any injury news, what we learned from the first leg, and more. There’s even a handy prediction on how we think the game might play out on Tuesday evening in Naples.
As you can imagine, Napoli and AC Milan have met many times in competitive action, but not often in the later stages of European football’s premier competition. Tuesday’s game will be the fourth time the teams have met this season following a Serie A double-header and that Champions League quarter-final first leg. Napoli has one win over Milan this season, with the visitors bagging victory in the previous two games. A hattrick would send them to the semi-final, with Milan carrying a 1-0 aggregate lead into this contest. Will they see it through, or can the home team win to keep their dreams alive?
Napoli leads the way
It has already been an exciting season in Naples, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. Napoli is top of the Serie A and enjoys a sizeable points cushion over the chasing pack. Their advantage now stands at 14 points to Lazio in second place despite the pace-setters failing to win two of their last three league starts. That means football fans now have a question to answer; is Napoli struggling down the home straight, or do they believe they’ve won the league already and are concentrating on this competition? Only time will tell on that one.
Napoli was last seen in action at the weekend when they were held to a goalless draw at home to Hellas Verona. That was a game they were expected to win at home, scoring a few goals into the bargain, but fans watched on in despair as their side huffed and puffed their way through the 90 minutes. Napoli failed to capitalize on their chances, and we were left thinking they had one eye firmly on Tuesday’s home game against Milan. Given their impressive league form and that points advantage, few followers would blame the club for setting priorities at this late stage.
Interestingly, the home team has won just one of their last four games this month. The spare on that list was a 2-1 away achieved over Lecce, a team they were expected to beat. Since that narrow victory and three points, Napoli has lost 1-0 in the first leg of this fixture and drawn that game at the weekend 0-0, two below-par performances. Two goals scored in four games don’t do much to inspire confidence in a home win, but Napoli kicks off as the favorites with many pundits.
Milan is in control
Given their opponent’s excellent league form and their run in this competition – winning Group A ahead of Liverpool, Ajax, and Rangers – few expected AC Milan to get much joy in this fixture. But success in Serie A doesn’t automatically guarantee success in the Champions League, even against a fellow Italian side. That’s why Milan and her fans paid no heed to the predictions of their doubters and the supposed experts. They were written off by many before kick-off in the first leg.
AC Milan rocked the boat by claiming a 1-0 home win over Napoli in the first leg. The winning goal that day was scored by Ismael Bennacer, who found the net a few minutes before the interval. Despite their impressive goal tally this season, Napoli couldn’t find a way to get level and ended the match with ten men. Franck Zambo was shown a red card on 74 minutes, ending any hopes Napoli had of a fightback. Milan is potentially just 90 minutes away from playing in the Champions League semi-finals.
Despite winning the first leg and taking a 1-0 lead to Naples, AC Milan hasn’t been in the best form of late and has won just one of their last five league games. That sticky spell consists of three draws and a defeat. Their opponents have the luxury of concentrating on this game. That’s not true of Milan, who know they have a fight on their hands to protect a top-four finish and secure Champions League football for next season. At present, they have two shots. They will qualify as the champions of Europe or by ending in the top four in Serie A. That’s a great position to be in for fans of the club.
Napoli v AC Milan prediction
What a game we have in store here with two sides desperate to progress, keeping their hopes of winning the trophy alive. Napoli has the home advantage and has rested players for this game. Their recent form isn’t great, but they have that points cushion, so they can afford to focus on winning this trophy, at least in the meantime.
AC Milan knows they’ll play in the next round if they can win or draw this game. Napoli’s home advantage could make the difference, but we expect a competitive evening. They’d accept a level finish and see it as a great result.
Champions League odds
Bet on this game at 22bet, and you’ll find Napoli trading at odds of 1.76 for a win in 90 minutes. AC Milan is 4,78 to do the double over their hosts, while the draw can be backed at 3,62.
Make sure to be on Napoli v AC Milan with 22Bet!