Napoli suffered their first defeat of the 2022-23 Serie A campaign on Wednesday evening when they went down 1-0 to former Italian champions Inter Milan away from home at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro).
Luciano Spalletti’s side have been the best and most entertaining team in the Italian top flight so far this season and had not lost a single game in the league until this week.
Prior to the loss to Inter, who won the Serie A title in 2020-21 under then head coach Antonio Conte (who is now in charge of Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur), the Naples-based outfit had drawn two Serie A games and won the rest.
Napoli headed into the match against Inter on the back of a 3-2 win against Udinese at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona back in November before the 2022 Qatar World Cup. It was their 11th successive victory in Serie A.
However, on Wednesday evening, Napoli failed to extend that run and slumped to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Inter.
Former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko scored the only goal of the match.
The striker, who has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid in the January transfer window, found the back of the net in the 56th minute with a thumping header from Federico Dimarco’s cross.
The result means that Napoli stay at the top of the Serie A table for now with 41 points from 16 matches.
Gli Azzurri are five points clear of second-placed and defending champions AC Milan.
As for Inter, Simone Inzaghi’s side are currently fourth in the standings with 33 points from 16 games, and can be backed at 9/2 on Betfair to win the Scudetto this season.
This is what we learned from Inter Milan’s 1-0 win against Napoli at San Siro in Serie A on Wednesday evening:
Inter Milan need to keep hold of Edin Dzeko
Edin Dzeko is out of contract at Inter Milan at the end of the season, and a new deal is yet to be signed.
Yes, the former Manchester City striker is 36 now, but he is still scoring important goals in Serie A and remains a very good player.
Inter have Belgium international striker Romelu Lukaku only on loan from Chelsea, who may want to bring him back to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
The former Italian champions have to keep hold of Dzeko, not just for the end of the current campaign, but for next season as well.
The striker has made 11 starts and five substitute appearances in Serie A so far this season, scoring seven goals and providing two assists in the process.
Dzeko has also made four starts and two substitute appearances in the UEFA Champions League for Inter so far this season, scoring three goals and providing one assist in the process.
Serie A title race wide open
Napoli will be determined to bounce back from the defeat to Inter Milan, and one should not be surprised if they pick up an easy win against Sampdoria away from home in Serie A this coming weekend.
However, the loss at the hands of Inter has blown the title race in the Italian top flight wide open.
Milan are only five points behind Napoli, and the defending Serie A champions will feel confident of winning their second successive Scudetti.
Juventus are on the rise again, and Inter will still fancy their chances of a title tilt.
Napoli fans need not worry
Although Napoli lost their first Serie A game of the season on Wednesday evening, they need not worry about a collapse after the break due to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
They were the more attacking team against Inter, who had just 36% of the possession and were happy to sit back.
After all, the Nerazzurri’s only effort on target was Dzeko’s goal. Napoli had nine shots, but the problem was that only two of them were on target.