Preview: Manchester City v Napoli


Manchester City and Napoli are both flying high at the top of their domestic leagues as they prepare for Tuesday’s Champions League encounter.

Champions League

17 October 2017
Kick-off 20:45 CET
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: M. Lahoz
Assistants: P. Cebrián Devís, R. Díaz Pérez Del Palomar
Fourth official: T. Sobrino Magán

Head-to-head summary

Manchester City 2 0 1 1
Napoli 2 1 1 0

Previous encounter:
Napoli 2-1 Manchester City 22/11/11 (Champions League)

Players to watch

While City have been very impressive as a holistic unit, and boast a number of top players, Kevin De Bruyne is arguably the one to watch for Pep Guardiola’s side. The Belgian has been brilliant at times this season, leading Pep Guardiola to call him “the best player in Europe, bar one”, presumably Lionel Messi, and the Catalan said he would do “all I can to help him get to the highest level possible”.

For Napoli, Lorenzo Insigne is the one to watch. Nobody since Diego Maradona has worn the No.10 shirt for Napoli, but Insigne’s performances have incited calls for him to take the legendary squad number.

Team form and quotes:

City will host the Group F clash at the Etihad Stadium as Premier League leaders, having gone undefeated so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s side have won their last six league matches in a row, and nine in all competitions, including a 1-0 win over Chelsea and last weekend’s 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City.

Napoli have been similarly unstoppable in Serie A, winning all eight matches so far while impressing with their easy-on-the-eye brand of football. Their most recent success was a 1-0 win over Roma and their only previous encounter with City, back in 2011, saw them win 2-1 in Naples after a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture in Manchester.

City manager Pep Guardiola said he would show his players just how good the Italian side are, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis was not necessarily eager for the compliment.

"[Guardiola’s praise] concerned me," De Laurentiis said. "I loved it when [Roma manager Eusebio] Di Francesco said Roma would beat us. It fired up my players.

"I wouldn’t like it if Guardiola’s praise resulted in my players losing focus. He’s a wily, old fox and he knows the quality of his squad, which is remarkable.

"For us, it could also be a game that’s almost impossible to win, but we’ll wait for them in Naples."
Meanwhile, City boss Pep Guardiola was delighted with their results against the Potters, saying that "Saturday was the best performance we have produced".

"Tomorrow is a new game and new competition so we are focused," Guardiola said. "We have to adapt for Napoli, they have a different playing style than what we see in the Premier League. Napoli do many many things and the things they do, they do perfectly."

Team news:

In team news, City have just a couple of defensive absentees, with long-term injury victims Benjamin Mendy and Vincent Kompany both unavailable.