Goal-shy Napoli des­per­ate for Mi­lik re­turn to Serie A ac­tion

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Mau­r­izio Sarri hopes his re­jec­tion of proven goalscorer Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang does not re­turn to haunt him when goal-shy Napoli host Lazio to­mor­row look­ing to save their wilt­ing Serie A cam­paign.

With goals steadily dry­ing up amid the in­jury-en­forced ab­sence of Polish striker Arkaduisz Mi­lik, Napoli pres­i­dent Aure­lio De Lau­ren­tiis of­fered ear­lier this week to table a bid for Borus­sia Dort­mund marks­man Aubameyang.

Sarri, how­ever, re­jected the pro­posal claim­ing Mi­lik would "re­turn by mid-Jan­uary" from a cru­ci­ate knee lig­a­ment in­jury he suf­fered last month.

“I asked Sarri if he wanted (Aubameyang) and he told me he wouldn't be suited to our style of game,” De Lau­ren­tiis told the club's ra­dio sta­tion Kiss Kiss.

“I hope Arkaduisz re­turns in Jan­uary be­cause in Sarri's set-up he needs a striker with spe­cific char­ac­ter­is­tics.”

Fans also hope that track­suit­wear­ing tac­ti­cian Sarri, who steered Napoli to the run­ners-up spot last sea­son only to see De Lau­ren­tiis sell star striker Gonzalo Higuain to Ju­ven­tus for €90 mil­lion (RM419 mil­lion), is right.

Napoli are al­ready seven points adrift of Ju­ven­tus, who hold a four-point lead on Roma, with AC Mi­lan and Lazio among the few teams also show­ing con­sis­tent early-sea­son prom­ise.

For­mer Roma striker Vincenzo Mon­tella's magic at the Mi­lan helm has seen the re­vived Ros­soneri up to third at only five points off the pace ahead of Sun­day's visit to Palermo.

Lazio are just one point be­hind in fourth while Napoli, after their 2-1 de­feat to Juve last week­end, have dropped to fifth.

Coached by Sime­one In­za­ghi, Lazio are pow­er­ing along thanks to the silky cre­ative skills of Brazil­ian Felipe An­der­son and the nine league goals of Italy for­ward Ciro Im­mo­bile.

Although they have only one win from their last five out­ings against Napoli — a shock 4-2 win at the San Paolo in May 2015 — Ser­bian mid­fielder Sergej Milinkovic said the sky's the limit.

“Napoli will be a dif­fi­cult test for us but we'll be go­ing there with no pres­sure. We're a strong squad, In­za­ghi is do­ing a great job and there's a great feel­ing in the dress­ing room,” Milinkovic said in Gazzetta dello Sport.

“We're fourth, and we want to keep on win­ning games. We have to see how far we can go, but this sea­son we should be tar­get­ing the Cham­pi­ons League.”

After Napoli's de­feat in Turin, where the aerial threat of Mi­lik was sorely missed, they can ill af­ford to drop points, es­pe­cially with in­jury-de­pleted Ju­ven­tus ex­pected to take all three points at Chievo.

Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri's men travel to Verona still smart­ing from a mid­week 1-1 draw with Lyon in the Cham­pi­ons League which put their last 16 qual­i­fi­ca­tion on hold.

A rash of in­juries is set to force Al­le­gri into some reshuf­fling that could see Dani Alves or Pa­trice Evra back on de­fen­sive du­ties.

Al­ready with­out strik­ers Paulo Dy­bala and Marko Pjaca and mid­fielder Kwadwo Asamoah, Leonardo Bonucci (thigh) is ex­pected to join fel­low de­fender Gior­gio Chiellini on the ca­su­alty list.

Hav­ing beaten In­ter Mi­lan 2-0 in their sea­son opener, Chievo would be for­given for harbouring lofty am­bi­tions. Yet they host Ju­ven­tus amid a four-game win­less run.

“We really want to get back into our stride after our re­cent lean patch,” mid­fielder Mas­simo Gobbi told the Chievo web­site.

“We've buried our­selves in train­ing this week try­ing to pre­pare for this game against the strong­est side in the league, so we owe the fans a de­cent dis­play.”

Mean­while, Torino and Cagliari have daz­zled fans with plenty of goals at both ends, so this ought to be a thriller.

Toro are com­ing off a dis­ap­point­ing 2-2 tie against Udi­nese. Sin­isa Mi­ha­jlovic called the tie a de­served re­sult, but in­sisted they must find the right men­tal­ity. The resur­gent Adem Lja­jic con­tin­ues to cre­ate, score and has be­come the de­ci­sive player that Torino needed.

An­drea Belotti, Marco Be­nassi and Daniele Baselli have all been key fig­ures, so are ex­pected to be in the Italy squad next week. While mid­field­ers Be­nassi and Baselli have great cre­ativ­ity and imag­i­na­tion, their goal scor­ing has been a pleas­ant sur­prise, net­ting three each this term.

The Granata cer­tainly don’t lack at­tack­ing flair, but they are leak­ing goals at the back, es­pe­cially since Le­an­dro Cas­tan’s in­jury.

As for Cagliari, they had an emo­tional win last time out against a tricky Palermo side. A rare brace for Daniele Dessena made it an un­for­get­table night for the Cagliari cap­tain. Miss­ing prac­ti­cally all of last sea­son with a se­ri­ous in­jury, he was vis­i­bly emo­tional and cry­ing after each goal.

Pi­oli in pole for In­ter job

Ste­fano Pi­oli is re­port­edly in pole po­si­tion for the In­ter job, ahead of for­mer Vil­lar­real Coach Marcelino.

The pair are both be­lieved to be in Mi­lan for an in­ter­view to­mor­row, as they hope to be ap­pointed as Frank de Boer’s suc­ces­sor.

A meet­ing is tak­ing place tonight be­tween the Sun­ing Group, who own the club, and those who run the Ner­az­zurri on a day-to-day ba­sis.Ac­cord­ing to Pre­mium Sport, sources close to Pi­oli are op­ti­mistic that he is in pole po­si­tion to be the next In­ter Coach.

Su­per-agent Kia Joorabchian is push­ing for Marcelino, but sport­ing di­rec­tor Piero Ausilio and vi­cePres­i­dent Javier Zanetti favour Pi­oli.

It ap­pears that Zanetti and Ausilio have made a stronger case to Sun­ing, but both men will still be in­ter­viewed.

Napoli’s Arkaduisz Mi­lik

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.