Inter Milan vs Napoli tips: Serie A leaders set to hit the ground running after World Cup break

As Serie A reboots after the World Cup, Tipstrr football pundit Sergiu Baltuta weighs up the prospects of title-chasing Inter Milan and Napoli, who meet in one of Wednesday's biggest clashes.

Defeats for Benfica and PSG over the last week have left Napoli as the last remaining undefeated team in Europe's top leagues this season, but that record will be severely tested as the Serie A leaders start 2023 with a difficult trip to face Inter in Milan.

Napoli have already managed to win this season at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, having beaten the reigning champions AC Milan 2-1 there in September. 

However, against the Nerazzurri, Napoli's last away win was in April 2017 and Inter have won all of their last four home encounters with the current Serie A leaders.

After 15 games, Napoli are 11 points clear of fifth-placed Inter, which suggests that this is a must-win game for the hosts if they are to remain in the title chase.

Inter (34 goals) and Napoli (37) are the only teams in Italy to have found the net more than 30 times this season, so it comes as little surprise that the league leaders also possess the league's top scorer in Victor Osimhen (nine goals), while Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko have contributed seven goals apiece so far for the Nerazzurri.

Even though both of the teams scored in their last three head-to-head games, only one of their last seven encounters has produced more than two goals, and that came in last season's corresponding fixture, when Inter managed a 3-2 win.

Interestingly, Inter have scored the most Serie A goals (6) in the first 15 minutes of their games this season, while Napoli have scored the most goals in the last 15 minutes (10).

Inter ended 2022 with six wins in seven games, including a 3-2 win away against Atalanta in their last official game of 2022, but significantly that has been their only win against their top-six Serie A rivals, having already come second best to Lazio (1-3), Milan (2-3), Roma (1-2) and Juventus (0-2).

Indeed, it has appeared to be a case of all or nothing for Inter this season, as they are the only team in Italy without a draw (Won 10, Lost 5), extending their draw-less sequence to 24 consecutive Serie A games.

Those five losses and their defensive problems (22 goals conceded, the poorest defensive record in the top half of the table) are the reason the hosts find themselves outside the Champions League spots at the moment.

Napoli were without a doubt the Serie A team most disadvantaged by the international break, as Luciano Spalletti's team had strung together 11 consecutive wins when domestic action stopped for the World Cup.

It's the longest winning streak by an Italian team since Juventus' 12 consecutive wins between December 2017 and March 2018, while away from home Napoli have enjoyed five consecutive wins, four of which saw them score at least two goals.

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