Manchester City have made relatively light work of their opening two Champions League fixtures this season and they will look to continue their perfect start to this European adventure when they play host to Napoli at The Etihad this evening.
Pep Guardiola‘s men come into this fixture of the back of a scintillating 7-2 win over Stoke on Saturday, it’s now 17 goals in their last three Premier League outings and they will look to carry some of that form over to continental competiton later tonight.
Kevin De Bruyne was the master puppeteer on Saturday as he played a part in four of City’s seven goals and rightfully won the plaudits in what was a long afternoon for Mark Hughes men, at times there were a queue of players waiting to slot the ball home after the Belgian international laid on a number of inch perfect passes.
Usually with scorelines of that nature you never know if the winning team has been exceptional or the losing team has just been rank bad. In fairness you would have to say that Manchester City were simply a different class as they fired out another warning to their Premier League rivals.
But for all the money that has been spent during the Etihad revolution, money which has produced a number of trophies there is still one missing from that collection. That of course being a Champions League title and ultimately that is what Pep Guardiola was hired for, ruling the roost in Europe.
City have reached a Semi Final under Manuel Pellegrini in 2015 but it was quite a meek exit when they were just two games from a showpiece final. The only real memory of those two performances was Vincent Kompany picking up an injury at the Bernabeu early on, you would be hard pressed to remember any of the on pitch action.
But this is a different beast altogether and with every swashbuckling domestic performance that is under their belt it means this is a side growing in confidence and ready to take on the absolute best that Europe has to offer. Tonight’s opponents Napoli are perhaps not in the bracket but they will look to provide a stern test this evening.
The Italian’s currently sit top of Serie A with a perfect 8 wins from 8 this season, two points clear of Inter Milan and also five points clear of perennial champions Juventus. Could this be the first time in seven seasons that we see a new name of the Scudetto.
Napoli will obviously feel that they can last the pace this season and finally be the team to knock Juventus off their perch. In Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon they have two players who will be able to cause Manchester City trouble but even though they have had a one hundred percent start to their domestic campaign this is going to be something of a step up in terms of opponents.
At the weekend they picked up a big win over potential title rivals Roma at the Olimpico Stadium, they are certainly laying down a marker in Italy and without question are the team to beat at present but I think they will find life a bit tougher in Manchester this evening.
Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down at the moment and although this game will provide a closer battle than the one that Stoke offered on Saturday I think it will be a third successive Champions League victory for Manchester City. Home win.