Napoli v Manchester City preview. Can City be defeated?
Napoli v Manchester City Champions League Group D fixture. Both teams are top of their respective leagues, separated by 6 points. Napoli will be looking to use the home advantage.
Napoli have had an underwhelming Champions League. They will no doubt be disappointed with their start to the competition.
Lying third Group D, the Italian side are six points behind Manchester City, who beat them 2-1 in the first leg. In an action-packed clash at the Etihad, City ran out 2-1 winners, grabbing two early goals.
Pep Guardiola’s men have started the season extremely well with convincing victories in the Premier and Champions League.
The City boss expressed his delight with his team’s character after the recent 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. No doubt he’ll be hoping for the same effort tomorrow night.
Napoli are unbeaten in five home games against English teams. City’s record in UEFA games in Italy is not so impressive. The three previous meetings between the two teams produced a victory each and a draw.
Sergio Aguero could see a return to the starting eleven, after Gabriel Jesus started at the weekend, as will Ilkay Gundogan. Raheem Sterling will be hoping his seventh goal of the season was enough to earn his spot in the starting eleven.
Napoli have one long-term injury with Arkadiusz Milik out for this clash. Christian Maggio is fit once more, is an option at right-back.
Kalidou Koulibaly, Amadou Diawara, and Piotr Zieliński, were all rested on Sunday in the routine win over Sassuolo. They will likely be named.
Players to impact the match
The Belgian has scored 10 goals in 11 Serie A matches, but only 1 in 3 Champions League fixtures. He will be seeking redemption after missing a penalty in the first leg, thus keeping Napoli’s European ambitions alive.
With only one victory in the competition, this is a pivotal fixture for the Neapolitans.
Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri is desperate for a win. 3 points are vital for his side to stay in touch with Shakhtar, the dark horses of the group.
Mertens did find the back of the net in their previous fixture, so he will be looking to keep both his tally rising, and his side in the competition.
Kevin De Bruyne
Another Belgian in top form in all competitions is Kevin De Bruyne. Picking up where he left off last season.
The Manchester City play is defined by De Bruyne. How he links with teammates shapes the game.
City have scored 43 goals in the Champions and Premier Leagues, the play-maker was pivotal in most of them.
He has 8 assists in both competitions and is hailed as being among the finest midfielders in the top five Europeans Leagues.
He is a vital player and will run the show to secure City’s qualification.
In a recent interview, when asked if City could remain undefeated all season De Bruyne said;
“To go unbeaten? It’s very hard. I don’t think it will be possible. The level of competition is so high, in every team. Every game is hard, you need to be mentally there. But as long as it keeps going it’s good. We have guys who can score with their eyes closed. So we’ll always have a chance of winning.”
If Napoli defeat Manchester City, they will advance to next stage of the competition. They need to up the pace and contain the City attack for any hope of a win.
Napoli certainly have attacking prowess themselves with Mertens, José Callejón and Lorenzo Insigne up front.
City’s defences will be tested. With John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi on the field, however, they will expect three points.
The clash will be an action-packed fixture with a potentially high scoreline.
Despite a poor record in Italy, Manchester City are favorites to win. However, they face a Napoli side fighting for their lives. Could there be more danger for Pep Guardiola than expected?