Napoli vs PSG Preview
San Paolo, Naples – Napoli host PSG in what is expected to be one of the most entertaining outings of the evening in the Champions League.
Matchday four of the Champions League group stage signifies a step up in hostilities in Europe’s top competition. This is where the cut-throat nature begins to surface. This seems to be more evident in Group C, where Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool are all vying for two qualification spots to the Round of 16.
Domestically, PSG are running away with the French league, even at this very early stage. They won again at the weekend, beating Lille 2-1. Meanwhile, Napoli sit third in the Serie A standings after their 5-1 thrashing of Empoli at the weekend.
The two sides have met three times in UEFA competitions, with Napoli yet to beat PSG. The French giants have won once, with two draws between the teams – the most recent coming in Paris in matchday three, last month, with Angel Di Maria’s last-minute equalizer having helped them earn a point.
View From Both Camps:
Carlo Ancelotti (Napoli):
“It’s an important game and can be decisive for both teams.”
“We need an extraordinary performance in order to get the victory, because we don’t have the kind of exceptional players they do throughout the squad.”
“We ended up in a very difficult group with Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. The result can be decisive for the future of our side in the competition, but the same goes for Paris.”
“They’ve lacked experience in the important moments of the Champions League, but the team is stronger this season and the players have more belief in themselves. They know that they can win the Champions League this term.”
Thomas Tuchel (PSG):
“Our game against Napoli is like a final. It is going to be very decisive.”
“Of Course the game at Parc des Princes was frustrating but it shows the willingness of other teams wanting to compete at the highest level.”
“We must me prepared for all kinds of challenges. Gigi (Buffon) will start against Napoli because he has just come from the back of a suspension and knows the atmosphere at the San Paolo too well.”
Napoli is set to welcome Faouzi Ghoulam back into their first team fold almost a year after being injured.
PSG, on the other hand, will be without Dani Alves, Laywin Kurzawa and Colin Dagaba, while Edinson Cavani is doubtful.
Gianluigi Buffon could make his first Champions League appearance since receiving the marching orders last year against Real Madrid.
Napoli (4-4-2): Ospina; Rui, Koulibaly, Albiol, Maksimovic; Ruiz, Hamsik, Zielinski, Callejon; Mertens, Insigne.
PSG (4-3-3): Buffon; Meunier, Silva, Marquinhos, Bernat; Verratti, Rabiot, Draxler; Di Maria, Neymar, Mbappe.
Both sides possess plenty of firepower and there is plenty of potential for an explosive encounter when these teams lock horns. Being one of the loudest stadiums in Italy, the San Paolo’s intimidating atmosphere sometimes could prove to be difficult obstacle to overcome. This will be a cagey affair, given the stakes of the match, and is expected to be nothing short of a goals galore. On paper, Paris Saint-Germain seems to have the bigger stars and the game changers in their team, but Carlo Ancelotti is a veteran of European competitions, and will have many a trick up his sleeve to yet again produce a shock in the group.
Prediction: Napoli 2-3 PSG
Photo credit to Dickson Dagogo via Flickr