LEICESTER CITY VS NAPOLI
Leicester City and Napoli lock horns on the opening matchday of the UEFA Europa League in Group C at the King Power Stadium in England’s East Midlands on Wednesday night.
The Italians are enjoying their run in the Italian Serie A after they won against Italian giants Juventus in their last match even though Alvaro Morata had given La Vecchia Signora the lead in the 10th minute.
On the other hand, Leicester City lost 0-1 to visiting Manchester City despite looking continuously threatening on the counter-attack last weekend.
The Foxes exploited City’s weakness at left-back as they launched relentless counter-attacks down that very flank, only to be thwarted by Kyle Walker and/or Ederson in their pursuit in the final third.
As the world waits with bated breath for the match between the two sides to commence in England, FootTheBall brings to you an in-detail and in-depth preview of the game before kick-off on Wednesday evening in England.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers will have nearly all of his players to call upon in this crucial match against Napoli. Jannik Vestergaard started for the Foxes in defence while Jonny Evans came on as a substitute in the match against Manchester City for Brendan Rodgers’ charges.
But, Leicester City will be without long-term absentee Wesley Fofana and full-back James Justin who will likely join back in October.
Leicester City probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1) : Schmeichel; Castagne, Soyuncu, Vestergaard, Bertrand; Tielemans, Ndidi; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
Napoli, meanwhile, are without the services of Stanislav Lobotka and goalkeeper Alex Meret in the match against Leicester City in England.
But on the brighter side, Piotr Zielinski made an appearance from the bench against Juventus and will be in the running to start in England in midweek.
David Ospina will feature in goal in the absence of Alex Meret for the Italians as they begin their Europa League campaign.
Napoli probable starting line-up (4-3-3) : Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Ruiz, Anguissa, Elmas; Politano, Osimhen, Insigne
For the Foxes, there is no requirement to look further than their charismatic English forward when it comes to the player who holds the key for Brendan Rodgers’ side. Vardy already has 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 matches in the Premier League.
He was also impressive in their latest match against Manchester City at home as he linked up pretty well with Marc Albrighton, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes on the counter-attack and even saw an effort ruled out for offside against the Sky Blues on the weekend.
The English trio of Albrighton, Maddison and Barnes will be supporting him along with defensive midfielders Tielamns and Ndidi in addition to Kelechi Iheanacho (who could make an appearance from the bench as an impact substitute).
Under new manager Luciano Spalletti, Matteo Politano is doing quite well as he continues to perform impressively on the right-wing of the three-pronged attack that also consists of Osimhen and Insigne.
The Italian winger already has 1 goal (scored against Italian heavyweights Juventus) and 1 assist in 3 matches in the Italian Serie A and it will be his contribution, along with Osimhen and Insigne, that will determine the outcome of the match for the Blues in England and their overall journey in the Europa League this season.
The Foxes are struggling in the Premier League, having lost 2 of their 4 matches so far in the English top-flight and will be looking for an inspirational win on their homeground against Napoli to bolster their confidence in the domestic league as well.
On the other hand, Napoli under Luciano Spalletti are yet to drop even a single point in the Italian Serie A and therefore will be brimming with confidence ahead of their trip to England to start their Europa League campaign against Leicester City as they target first place in their group.
FootTheBall’s prediction: Leicester City 1-2 Napoli