On Sunday, Inter Milan maintains their slim Serie A lead, confronting defending champion Napoli, while Juventus closely follows.

On Sunday, Inter Milan safeguards their slim Serie A lead as they confront defending champion Napoli, all while being closely pursued by Juventus. Image by (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP).

Inter visits resurgent Napoli with Serie A lead uncertain

Inter Milan protects their narrow Serie A lead on Sunday, facing reigning champion Napoli with Juventus closely pursuing.

On Sunday, Inter Milan maintains their slim Serie A lead, confronting defending champion Napoli, while Juventus closely follows.

On Sunday, Inter Milan safeguards their slim Serie A lead as they confront defending champion Napoli, all while being closely pursued by Juventus. Image by (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP).

Inter Milan defends their slender lead at the top of Serie A on Sunday when they travel to reigning champion Napoli with Juventus breathing down their necks.

Simone Inzaghi’s side maintained their two-point advantage over Juve with last weekend’s scrappy draw in Turin but have another tough test in Naples to complete what has been a tricky week.

ALSO READ: Inter Milan fans prepare deafening welcome for Lukaku

Inter Milan draw in the Champions League match

Inter travel south on Sunday after Wednesday’s 3-3 Champions League draw at Benfica as they plough through a punishing schedule aiming to be top gun both at home and abroad.

Their second string coming back from three goals down at the Estadio da Luz gave them a good chance of finishing top of Group F, and the heavy squad rotation Inzaghi decided to implement for the draw in Portugal means his top performers should be fresh for domestic action at the weekend.

ALSO READ: Bayern Munich approves Pavard’s transfer to Inter Milan

Also helping Inter is Napoli’s atrocious record at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, which was largely why Rudi Garcia was sacked and replaced by Walter Mazzarri.

Seven points is a measly tally from six league matches at home, and a strong performance against Inter will be the best way to forget an eventful 4-2 defeat at Real Madrid, in which Napoli showed signs of life after an awful start to the season.

ALSO READ: Inter Milan striker spotted with Megan Thee Stallion ahead of Champions League final

Mazzarri’s mission to reduce the gap

Sunday’s clash is Mazzarri’s first at home since returning to the helm at fourth-placed Napoli earlier this month, and he is trying to cut the eight-point gap separating his team from Inter.

Inter could already find themselves behind Juve before they take to the field in Naples, as their closest rivals are at Monza on Friday night in the opening match of the weekend.

ALSO READ: Inter Milan capable of beating Madrid or City

Monza has shown no signs of second-season syndrome in Italy’s top flight and is nestled in ninth place. Raffaele Palladino’s side is tough to beat and can count on one of the revelations of the campaign in Andrea Colpani, the 24-year-old attacking midfielder who scored six times and set up one more this season.

Juve, meanwhile, is finally coming to the end of an injury crisis and should have Manuel Locatelli back in midfield, while Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic looked to be back on form before last week’s draw with Inter descended into a glorified street fight.

ALSO READ: Inter Milan crowned Serie A champions for 19th time as Atalanta held

Six points back in third are AC Milan, who are in full-blown crisis mode after being all but eliminated from the Champions League following Tuesday’s limp home defeat by Borussia Dortmund, which brought yet another injury.

Malick Thiaw succumbs to a hamstring tear

Germany centre-back Malick Thiaw succumbed to a serious hamstring tear, meaning Milan has ten players out, including star winger Rafael Leao, for Saturday’s visit of Frosinone, who are 10th and having a great time back in Serie A.

Milan, who have won just two of their last eight matches in all competitions, are for now backing under-fire coach Stefano Pioli, but another bad result will pile further pressure on both him and the club.

Player to watch: Victor OsimhenIt’s impossible to overstate the importance of Osimhen to Napoli, and the Nigeria striker will be top-billing for Sunday’s fixture, which will show whether his team can recover their faltering title defence.

Inter have the league’s best defence, with just seven goals conceded in 13 matches, and Osimhen will be the critical threat for Napoli after recovering from his hamstring injury.

A combination of injury and his team’s underwhelming performances also means that the 24-year-old is trailing the league’s leading scorer, Lautaro Martinez, by seven goals.

Key stats8 – the points gap separating Napoli and Inter2 – Napoli have won just twice in Naples all season, with their last home victory in any competition coming against Udinese at the end of September.

Fixtures (times GMT)FridayMonza v JuventusSaturdayGenoa v Empoli (1400), Lazio v Cagliari (1700), AC Milan v Frosinone (1945)SundayLecce v Bologna (1130), Fiorentina v Salernitana (1400), Udinese v Verona (both 1400), Sassuolo v Roma (1700), Napoli v Inter (1945)MondayTorino v Atalanta (1945).

© Agence France-Presse