Napoli are set to host Real Madrid at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
The Azzurri and Los Blancos are the heavy-weight sides of Group C and both teams are likely to go through to the knockout stage from this group with Sporting Braga and Union Berlin the two other teams drawn in this group.
So, Napoli and Real Madrid will be desperate to come away victorious from this encounter to put themselves in an advantageous position to finish at the summit of the group.
Both sides managed to win their opening fixture of this season’s Champions League and they will be hoping to continue their winning run. So, this is a mouth-watering encounter for the Football fans.
Real Madrid watch
Los Blancos have started their league campaign brilliantly as they are currently at the top of the table with 21 points from eight games, losing only one game.
The defeat came against Atletico Madrid in the derby but following that loss, Los Merengues have managed to win back-to-back matches. So, they are currently full of confidence ahead of this encounter.
In the meantime, Carlo Ancelotti’s side commenced the Champions League season by beating Union Berlin 1-0 courtesy of Jude Bellingham’s stoppage time goal. So, Real Madrid have started the season strongly in all competitions.
Having won the Scudetto last term after more than three decades, several changes have been made by Napoli’s hierarchy ahead of this season. Luciano Spalletti has been relieved of his duties and Rudi Garcia has been appointed as the new boss to replace the Italian.
Key part of Napoli’s last season’s success Kim Min-Jae has joined Bayern Munich and that has made the Azzurri’s backline significantly weak this season.
After last season’s success, Napoli came into this season as a favourite to defend their Serie A title this term. But, they haven’t had a great start at all. They have lost seven points in the league from as many games and have already found themselves four points behind the league leaders Inter Milan.
Amidst their mixed start to this season, a new issue recently occurred as their key player Victor Osimhen expressed displeasure over a video that was posted by Napoli’s official TikTok account following a disappointing draw against Bologna. The Nigerian has even threatened to take legal action against his club over this incident.
But, since then, Osimhen has scored in the back-to-back games for Garcia’s side so that story has now gone under the radar at the moment.
Real Madrid recently met against Napoli in the Champions League round of 16 tie during the 2016/17 campaign. Los Blancos came away victorious in both games with a 3-1 result and progressed through to the next round before eventually managing to lift the trophy in that campaign. So, Napoli will be desperate to win the game on Tuesday and take revenge for that defeat.
How to watch
The match will begin at 8 pm UK time and the game will be telecasted live on TNT Sports 3, discovery+ and discovery+ app in the UK. The official channels sold-out tickets for this game weeks ago but you can still buy tickets at reseller sites such as seatsnet.com if you want to attend the match in person.
Napoli don’t have many injury issues ahead of this encounter. But, they will be without their key defensive duo Juan Jesus and Amir Rrahmani due to injury problems. Second-choice goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini is also expected to be unavailable vailable for this encounter due to an injury.
On the other hand, Real Madrid have significant injury absentees ahead of this encounter. Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois have currently been sidelined with serious knee issues so they are not in contention to feature tomorrow.
New signing Arda Guler has been struggling with injury problems since moving to the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu this summer. After recovering from a knee issue, he has suffered a fresh injury in recent times and is set to remain sidelined for a few weeks. So, he is not going to feature in this encounter.
After sustaining an injury against Las Palmas last week, David Alaba was absent in the victory over Girona in the last game. So, he is in doubt ahead of this fixture.
But, the good news for Real Madrid is that Vinicius Jr. has returned to full fitness after recovering from an injury that kept him out of action for several weeks.
Garcia has been using the 4-3-3 formation since being appointed as the Napoli boss at the start of this season and he is likely to go with the same system in this encounter as well.
Alex Meret is set to continue in goal for Napoli and in front of the Italian, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Leo Ostigard, Natan and Mathias Olivera should be the back four.
Frank Anguissa, Stanislav Labotka and Piotr Zielinski should be in the middle of the park, while Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen and Politano could be the front three for Napoli.
Expected Napoli line-up vs Real Madrid
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Ostigard, Natan, Olivera; Anguissa, Labotka, Zielinski; Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen, Politano
As for Real Madrid, Ancelotti has been using the 4-3-1-2 formation this season. Kepa Arrizabalaga should be in goal, while Dani Carvajal, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy could be the back four for Los Blancos.
Federico Valverde, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga should be the midfield trio, while Bellingham is likely to be in the number ten position. Vinicius Jr and Joselu could lead the line for Real Madrid.
Predicted Real Madrid line-up vs Napoli
Kepa; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Camavinga, Bellingham; Vinicius Jr, Joselu
Osimhen has established himself as a talismanic figure for Napoli after joining the club from LOSC Lille. He played a key role in Napoli’s Scudetto triumph last term and was the highest scorer in the league.
He has started the new campaign brilliantly as he has already scored five goals in eight games in all competitions. So, Napoli fans will be hoping that Osimhen will be able to showcase his best tomorrow and help the Azzurri win the game.
Kvaratskhelia was also an integral part of Napoli’s success last term, but he struggled to showcase his best during the later stages of last term. He also had a slow start to this season, but the Georgian is getting better as the season gets old.
As for Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. is the main attacking ammunition for Ancelotti’s team, however, the new signing Bellingham has now established himself as the main goal-scorer for the record European champions after putting his name on the scoresheet on a regular basis in the first few games.
Following Karim Benzema’s departure, questions were raised as to who will be able to fill the Frenchman’s void amid his absence. Real Madrid have signed Joselu on a loan deal to add depth to the attacking department.
However, Bellingham has seamlessly filled Benzema’s void, scoring seven goals and registering two assists in eight appearances in all competitions.
Napoli are a hard team to beat at home, but the Azzurri are likely to find it difficult to defeat Real Madrid in this fixture. So, it is likely that the game could end in a stalemate. Napoli 2-2 Real Madrid
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