This man, contrary to appearances, is happy.
The final whistle has just blown in Naples, where Napoli have gone down 2-1 at home to Spezia, their first win in nine games. Napoli remain fourth, but will be overtaken by Juventus if they win tonight.
Team news is in, and tonight’s starters are these:
Milan: Donnarumma; Dalot, Kjær, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Calabria, Kessie; Castillejo, Hakan, Hauge; Leao.
Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Frabotta; Chiesa, Bentancur, Rabiot, Ramsey; Dybala, Ronaldo.
Well, this is exciting. Juventus, Serie A champions in 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, find themselves 10 points off the lead, albeit with a game in hand and with the season less than half-cooked. Thanks to Inter’s unexpected 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria this afternoon Milan lead the pile, themselves briefly enjoying a game in hand on their two closest challengers, Inter and Roma, and would have a 13-point lead over the nine-time successive champions should they win this evening in the first of three successive home fixtures against Turin-based sides (with Torino next in the league on Saturday, and coming back again in the cup next Tuesday).
“We know the importance of this match,” Andrea Pirlo says. “Milan-Juventus always was fascinating as a player and will be as a coach . We’ll do our best, but I don’t think it’s decisive for the rest of the championship.”
Time will tell on that front, I suppose. Welcome! And here’s the latest league table: