This weekend, we’ll be treated to one of Italy’s biggest matchups of the season. Here are our Three Keys to Napoli v AC Milan in Serie A.
New management v New ownership
Carlo Ancelotti played 112 games for AC Milan in his younger days, and coached the club from 2001 to 2009. He was very successful during his tenure, as he managed to take home two Champions League titles among nine other trophies. Now the 59-year-old future hall of famer will have to face off against his former club in Serie A this Saturday. Ancelotti was hired by Napoli this summer to counteract the departure of Maurizio Sarri. He is a very accomplished manager, with a big portfolio of clubs under his belt including PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Chelsea. He is likely to be the catalyst Napoli have been lacking these past seasons.
The Rossoneri also experienced a few changes over the summer, with the transfer of the club to new charismatic owner Paul Singer, CEO of Elliot Management. Singer has ushered in a new dawn by installing club legend Paulo Maldini in a management role and executing some smart transfers over the summer window. Both sides will go into this game with a lot of hope.
Lorenzo Insigne v Gonzalo Higuain
Lorenzo Insigne was in fine form for Napoli last weekend, netting the winning goal against Lazio in their opening match. The Italian forward will perhaps be one of the most instrumental players in the Napoli squad. The Rossoneri’s defence will struggle after the departure of Leonardo Bonucci, and Insigne will take full advantage of the disorganized backline.
Gonzalo Higuain is his opposite number, and a right villain in the eyes of Napoli fans. He played in Naples for three seasons and will most likely know a few insider secrets that AC Milan may use to their advantage. The two danger men will most likely be the keys their respective clubs need.
Old guard v Fledgling youth
David Ospina is officially a Neapolitan. The former Arsenal stopper played for Arsenal for four years, but his future with the Gunners ended up being blocked by the arrival of Petr Cech and subsequently Bernd Leno. This summer, he decided to set off to Italy where he will undoubtedly have priority over Orestis-Spyridon Karzenis and the club’s two other young keepers (Mikhail Baranovsky and Davide Marfella). However, his best years are behind him, and his career in Italy will be very short-lived. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against such an established side as Milan.
He’ll be going up against one of Italy’s biggest rising stars. At only 19 years of age, Gianluigi Donnarumma has already disputed 135 matches in the famed red and black, and is considered one of Serie A’s best keepers. He has a bright future ahead of him and the Partenopei will have a tough nut to crack this weekend.