Oct 17, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ‚ÄčEtihad Stadium
Attendance: 48,520
Man CityManchester City
2-1
Napoli
Sterling (9'), Jesus (13')
Walker (37'), De Bruyne (44'), Fernandinho (72')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Diawara (73' pen.)
Albiol (74'), Maggio (79')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Napoli

Sports Mole previews the Champions League encounter at the Etihad Stadium between Manchester City and Napoli.

Manchester City head into their Champions League fixture with Napoli at the Etihad Stadium looking to record their 10th successive win in all competitions.

Napoli make the trip to England having recorded eight consecutive victories in Serie A, but the Italian leaders are currently three points off the pace in Group F.


Manchester City

Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Liverpool on September 9, 2017© SilverHub

When you give a manager of the class of Pep Guardiola a significant warchest to put together a team to match his philosophy, it is only a matter of time before everything starts to click and that is exactly what has happened since the end of August.

During that time, City have won each of their nine fixtures in all competitions, with 39 goals being scored and four or more strikes being netted in a single match on five occasions.

Simply put, City have been ruthless, much like Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona side used to be under his guidance. It took time for some of their players to reach top gear this season but on current form, they appear to be unbeatable.

Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are contributing the majority of the goals, but the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been sensational and have 14 assists between them in all competitions.

Improvements still need to be made in defence - Stoke City rallied to score two goals in quick succession in the Premier League on Saturday - but Guardiola has so much confidence in his team's attacking play that he will not show too much concern for their frailties at the back.

City have scored 19 goals in their last four encounters at the Etihad and while Guardiola will expect Napoli to provide the club's stiffest test of the campaign, there is still a belief that City are capable of steamrollering a team who are threatening to end Juventus's dominance in Italy.

Recent form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Napoli

Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri at the game against Lazio on April 9, 2017© SilverHub

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has called for the club's star men to be rested for the trip to Manchester, but it is anything but a cheap surrender against the group's top seeds.

The Naples outfit have emerged victorious from each of their eight league games this season and with second-placed Inter Milan the visitors to Stadio San Paolo on Saturday, De Laurentiis has made it clear that he prioritises a sustained assault on the Serie A crown.

Maurizio Sarri has already led the club to wins away at both Lazio and Roma, and the general consensus is that the Light Blues have never been better prepared to end their long wait to regain the league title, with their last success coming in 1990.

Lorenzo Insigne was Napoli's matchwinner against Roma but it has been a rounded effort from the squad, with Dries Mertens managing seven goals from eight appearances and Jose Callejon also chipping in with four strikes.

The defence has only conceded five goals in eight outings, but it has shown vulnerability in Europe with Shakhtar Donetsk running out 2-1 winners in the Ukraine on matchday one.

As it stands, that has been the only blip of the season so far, but City are sure to put Napoli's supremacy to the test and give everyone a clearer indication of whether they have what it takes to outlast Juventus on the domestic front.

Recent form: LW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW


Team News

Sergio Aguero in action during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Everton on August 21, 2017© Offside

Guardiola has hinted that Aguero is in line for a recall to the City starting lineup after coming through another training session after a fractured rib.

The City head coach could decide to make changes, however, with just over 72 hours passing since the full-time whistle against Stoke, and Danilo and Bernardo Silva are both in contention to be included.

Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling could potentially be the pair to drop out ahead of Saturday's league meeting with Burnley.

Sarri is likely to be against making too many alterations to his team, but a balance may have to be found given De Laurentiis's comments.

Vlad Chiriches and Emanuele Giaccherini - formerly of Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland respectively - are in line to play should changes be made.

Former Liverpool stopper Pepe Reina is likely to keep his place in goal, however, after keeping three consecutive clean sheets for club and country.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi; Danilo, Fernandinho, Silva, Sane; De Bruyne, Jesus, Aguero

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Reina; Chiriches, Albiol, Hysaj, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Giaccherini, Mertens, Insigne,


Head To Head

Tuesday's encounter will represent the third time in which these two teams have met in a competitive fixture, with City failing to win either of the Champions League contests between the sides in 2011.

In the clash at the Etihad, a late goal from Aleksandar Kolarov cancelled out an earlier effort from Edinson Cavani, leaving both teams to have to settle for a point.

Two months later in Naples, Cavani netted twice in the opening 49 minutes of the game to secure a 2-1 win for the home side, with Mario Balotelli scoring City's effort.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Manchester City 3-2 Napoli

Statistically speaking, two of European football's most in-form teams are squaring off in Manchester and we expect a close battle. There should be goals aplenty and given City's record in the final third, we cannot back against them in what should be a thrilling encounter at the Etihad.


Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Manchester City and Napoli?

Manchester City
Draw
Napoli
Manchester City
66.7%
Draw
7.4%
Napoli
25.9%
Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Liverpool on September 9, 2017
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City87102942522
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd86202121920
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs85211551017
4Watford84311313015
5Chelsea8413138513
6Arsenal84131210213
7Burnley834186213
8Liverpool83411312113
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle832398111
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
11West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom824279-210
12Southampton823379-29
13Huddersfield TownHuddersfield823359-49
14Swansea CitySwansea822458-38
15Everton8224513-88
16Stoke CityStoke8224918-98
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
18Leicester CityLeicester81341013-36
19Bournemouth8116412-84
20Crystal Palace8107218-163
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