Once again top of the table in Italy meets top of the table in England as Napoli play host to Manchester City in Champions League action later this evening. Both teams are yet to taste defeat domestically in their respective leagues but City do have the bragging rights from a fortnight ago when they met at The Etihad.
That night saw Manchester City continue their one hundred percent record in the competition this season and a win tonight would see them qualify for the Round of 16 as they would sit at the top of Group F with a maximum 12 points.
Not only but it would leave Napoli’s hopes of making it to the knockout stages on a lifeline as they would have picked up just one win from their first four group stage matches, highlighting that although they have looked dominant at home they have perhaps struggled to get a foothold in continental competition.
When these two sides met in Manchester it was City who came out on top with a 2-1 win over Napoli, Pep Guardiola’s men raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to early goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel De Jesus, they did however have a nervy finish when Diawara’s penalty for Napoli halved the deficit.
City would however hold on for all three points and that was the exact same scenario that occured at the weekend when they were tested by West Brom but left The Hawthorns with all three points, in fairness though the scoreline suggests that the game was perhaps closer than it actually was especially with Nicolas Otamendi gifting the Baggies a late goal which ultimately proved to be just a consolation.
Napoli currently find themselves top of Serie A and are two points clear of Inter Milan, they may well have lost their one hundred percent start to the season but they come into this game in fine form especially after a 3-1 home win over Sassuolo on Saturday.
They will look to carry that momentum into tonight and like what happened to them a fortnight ago, start quick out of the blocks and put City on the back foot. That however is easier said than done as no team has managed to get anywhere near Pep Guardiola’s men.
Not only that but in the Champions League City are scoring goals from all over the park, the fact that John Stones is the club’s joint top scorer in this competition this season speaks volumes as they have the ability to hurt Napoli all over the park.
Manchester City are probably just a point away from qualification and perhaps other manager’s would be content with a draw here this evening not Pep Guardiola though as he wants to show to the rest of Europe that he is capable of taking his team all the way.
And what better way to lay down a marker than going to Napoli and coming back from maximum points and with the form they are in and more importantly the performances they are turning in right now you would not put it past them, I’ll go for an away win this evening.