While this isn’t a crucial match in the group (City can guarantee qualification and first place against Feyenoord at home next month), Pep Guardiola will remember just how tough the game was two weeks ago and will put his strongest possible lineup on the pitch. The big game against Arsenal is on Sunday, so there’ll be time to rest his key players after the trip to Naples.
We shouldn’t see a lot of changes from the team that faced Napoli at the Etihad, with the only probably alteration being Sergio Agüero coming into the starting lineup in place of either Raheem Sterling or Gabriel Jesus. If Pep wants to have a strong counter attack in case Napoli manage to dominate possession at home, Sterling is the best option on the right wing; if the plan is to try and fight for the ball with Napoli and press them high up the pitch, then having Jesus is the best option. I think Pep will go with the second plan, so it’s Gabriel, Agüero and Leroy Sané up front.
The rest of the Manchester City team doesn’t need any changing: John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi are established as the center-back pairing (despite their mistakes against West Brom), and Kyle Walker and Fabian Delph have been fantastic as full-backs. The midfield of Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva has been arguably the best in Europe this season, and they’ll be looking to have a big impact on a big game.
Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Jesus, Agüero, Sané
Bitter and Blue XI (as chosen by you!):
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Manager Maurizio Sarri made two changes to his strongest possible team at the Etihad, with Amadou Diawara and Piotr Zielinski coming in for Allan and Jorginho. That probably won’t be the case on Wednesday night, especially since Napoli need a win to stay alive in the group and avoid going to the Europa League.
Napoli will be looking to have the same performance as they did in the second half two weeks ago, when they completely dominated possession and put City under a lot of pressure. They got a goal back and could have gotten a draw if it weren’t for Ederson Moraes, Stones and the rest of the City defense, so if they’re a little more clinical they’ll have a good chance of winning this.
And when you have Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne in your attack, you always have a very good chance of winning games.
Predicted XI: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne
Man City: Ederson; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sané; Agüero
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne