Manchester City keen to put one over Napoli
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Group F leaders Manchester City are looking to make it three wins in a row when they take on Napoli, who have avoided defeat in England only once – at City in 2011.
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Manchester City FC lost out to SSC Napoli when the teams last met, but the English club are flying high in Group F as they look to make it three wins from three.
• Having beaten Feyenoord 4-0 away before a 2-0 home win against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, Josep Guardiola's side have opened up a three-point cushion at the head of the standings. Shakhtar and Napoli, who were defeated 2-1 in Ukraine on matchday one but bounced back with a 3-1 victory at home to Feyenoord, are three points back.
• City's first match in the UEFA Champions League was at home to Napoli six years ago; the Partenopei have never won away to English clubs in five previous attempts.
• The teams' only past encounters came in the 2011/12 group stage, City's debut UEFA Champions League campaign, when they drew 1-1 in Manchester on matchday one. Edinson Cavani gave Walter Mazzarri's visitors a 69th-minute lead; Aleksandar Kolarov equalised for City, then managed by Roberto Mancini, five minutes later.
• The line-ups at the City of Manchester Stadium on 14 September 2011 were:
Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov (Clichy 75), Barry, Y Touré, Nasri (Johnson 76), Silva, Džeko (Tévez 81), Agüero.
Napoli: De Sanctis, Maggio, P Cannavaro, Zúñiga, Gargano, Aronica, Campagnaro, Inler, Hamšík (Santana 89), Lavezzi (Džemaili 58), Cavani (Pandev 84).
• Napoli came out on top in the matchday five sequel in Italy, however, Cavani scoring twice (17, 49) either side of Mario Balotelli's 33rd-minute goal to secure a 2-1 home victory.
• That win proved crucial as Napoli finished on 11 points in second place, one point and one place higher than their English rivals.
• This is the fourth time City have been drawn in the same UEFA Champions League group as opponents from Italy. In 2014/15 they collected four points from AS Roma (1-1 home, 2-0 away) but in the most recent Anglo-Italian contest, against Juventus in 2015/16, they lost 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.
• That defeat by Juve in Manchester was City's first at home to Italian visitors and means they have won none of their last four home games against Serie A sides (D3 L1) – having achieved victories in both the first two.
• The win at Roma is City's only success in their last eight meetings with Italian clubs, home and away (D4 L3).
• City are unbeaten in their last 11 home matches in the UEFA Champions League (W8 D3), qualifying included, since that Juventus reversal on matchday one in 2015/16. The Juve loss was their fourth in six fixtures at the City of Manchester Stadium, with just one win in that run.
• Josep Guardiola's men took seven points at home in last season's group stage, beating VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-0) and FC Barcelona (3-1) before a 1-1 draw with Celtic FC.
• Third in last season's Premier League, City are making a seventh straight UEFA Champions League appearance – they have progressed to the round of 16 or beyond in each of the last four campaigns.
• Last term, Guardiola's team came second in their section and lost on away goals to AS Monaco FC in the last 16 (5-3 home, 1-3 away).
• The Partenopei are unbeaten in their last three games against Premier League clubs (W2 D1), since a 2-0 loss at Arsenal FC in the 2013/14 group stage. That was their third reverse in four trips to England, the 2011 draw at City the only time they avoided defeat in that run.
• Most recently, Napoli drew 0-0 at Swansea City AFC in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg, winning 3-1 at home.
• The draw at Swansea gave Napoli the record W0 D2 L3 away to Premier League sides. In contrast, they have won four of their five home matches, drawing the other.
• Defeat at Shakhtar on matchday one was Napoli's third in ten European away fixtures since the start of 2015/16 (W6 D1). They picked up seven points away from home in last year's group stage.
• Napoli are in the group stage for the second year running. In 2016/17, the Partenopei lost to eventual champions Real Madrid CF in the round of 16, going down 3-1 both away and at home.
• The Italian team qualified for this season's group stage by beating OGC Nice 2-0 both home and away in the play-offs.
Coach and player links
• Guardiola played in Serie A with Roma and Brescia, and was a team-mate of Pepe Reina at Barcelona in 2000/01.
• Reina played in England with Liverpool between 2005 and 2013; his record against City was W7 D9 L2 with nine clean sheets in that time – including all of his first six games.
• Vlad Chiricheş played for Tottenham Hotspur FC between 2013 and 2015. His sole appearance against City came in a 5-1 league defeat at White Hart Lane on 29 January 2014.
• Emanuele Giaccherini played for Sunderland AFC between 2013 and 2015. He was a second-half substitute in the 2014 League Cup final, which Sunderland lost 2-1 against City.
• Giaccherini scored in Italy's 2-0 win over De Bruyne's Belgium in the UEFA EURO 2016 group stage. Belgium's Jason Denayer was an unused substitute.
• Lorenzo Insigne scored for Italy against David Silva's Spain in a 1-1 friendly draw in Udine in March 2016.
• Marek Hamšík scored as Slovakia defeated Leroy Sané's Germany 3-1 in a pre-UEFA EURO 2016 friendly.
• Played together:
Kyle Walker & Vlad Chiricheș (Tottenham, 2013–15)
Danilo & Rafael Cabral (Santos FC, 2010–11)
• International team-mates:
Kevin De Bruyne, Jason Denayer, Vincent Kompany & Dries Mertens (Belgium)
Danilo & Rafael Cabral (Brazil, 2012)
• Guardiola's side have won ten of their 11 fixtures this season, drawing the other. They beat Stoke City FC 7-2 on Saturday.
• City are 17 games unbeaten in all competitions (W14 D3) since the 2-1 loss to Arsenal FC in the FA Cup semi-finals on 23 April.
• The Citizens have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight matches.
• Sergio Agüero – who has seven goals in eight appearances for City this season – returned to training on 10 October, 11 days after sustaining a rib injury in a car crash in Amsterdam. He was an unused substitute against Stoke.
• Agüero requires two more goals to surpass Eric Brook (177 goals) as City's all-time leading scorer.
• Gabriel Jesus has scored 13 goals in his 17 Premier League appearances.
• Nicolás Otamendi (Argentina), John Stones (England), Walker (England), Bernardo Silva (Portugal), Leroy Sané (Germany), David Silva (Spain) and Raheem Sterling (England) played during the international break as their teams qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Jesus scored twice in already-qualified Brazil's 3-0 defeat of Chile.
• De Bruyne is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced in December.
• Benjamin Mendy was ruled out for seven months after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 5-0 home win against Crystal Palace FC on 23 September.
• Kalidou Koulibaly will incur a suspension with his next booking.
• Including the final five games of last season, Napoli have won their last 13 Serie A matches – a club record run. The Serie A record is 17, set by FC Internazionale Milano in 2006/07.
• Maurizio Sarri's men are 20 unbeaten (W18 D2) in the league since a 2-0 home loss to Atalanta BC on 25 February.
• Napoli have won 11 of their 12 fixtures this term – the only blemish being the defeat by Shakhtar on matchday one.
• Hamšík registered his first of the campaign in the 3-0 triumph over Cagliari Calcio on 1 October and is now one goal shy of Diego Maradona's club record (115 goals).
• Mertens, who has scored seven goals in eight Serie A appearances this season, is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced in December.
• José María Callejón (Spain), Mertens (Belgium), Nikola Maksimović (Serbia) and Piotr Zieliński (Poland) played during the international break as their teams qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
• Hamšík won his 100th cap for Slovakia in their 1-0 loss to Scotland on 5 October.
• Arkadiusz Milik tore knee ligaments for the second time in 12 months during the win at SPAL 2013 on 23 September. He was subsequently ruled out for four months after undergoing surgery.