Serie A sides Napoli, Inter and Juventus all face key opposition in the Champions League this week, and the trio made the best possible preparation with all three recording domestic victories on Saturday.
Here at Football Index, we have put together a guide to what to expect from each of these sides as they prepare for crunch matches in the elite competition this week.
Napoli-Paris Saint Germain – Tuesday November 6th 8:00pm.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli hosted newly-promoted Empoli on Friday evening, a 5-1 win for the Partenopei perhaps a harsh scoreline after the visitors played some good football at times. “I was more angry than excited,” the boss fumed to reporters after the final whistle. “The result says we had a great game, but the performance in fact shows Empoli played better than we did. They had more control, more initiative and up until we went 4-1 up it was a real struggle.”
Perhaps the Coach was not entirely happy with his side on the night, but after naming 14 different lineups in 14 competitive matches, he simply can’t ignore that the results are going well at present. In particular, the Napoli attack is extremely potent, Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik with a goal apiece as well as a hat-trick for Dries Mertens versus Empoli.
This is something that the PSG backline will need to be extremely wary of, especially with veteran stopper Gianluigi Buffon said to in the frame to be handed a start by Coach Thomas Tuchel ahead of Alphonse Areola.
Inter-Barcelona – Tuesday November 6th 8.00pm
The Nerazzurri seem to be finding their stride, and perhaps more importantly how to score without star striker Mauro Icardi, midfielder Roberto Gagliardini, Matteo Politano, Radja Nainggolan and former West Ham loanee Joao Mario all on the scoresheet at the weekend.
“The team had the right attitude, worked as a team, pressed high and the forwards helped out in defence too,” a beaming Luciano Spalletti admitted after the match. “That kind of approach is more often than not rewarded with the result.”
Inter have given themselves the best preparation possible for the tough clash that awaits them, but with Messi back in the squad – even if not medically cleared to play – Inter’s performance may make little difference to the result.
Juventus-Manchester United – Wednesday November 7th 8.00pm
Manchester United simply must save face with some kind of result in Turin on Wednesday after they simply failed to turn up at Old Trafford two weeks before. Jose Mourinho’s men watched in awe as Juventus dazzled with their slick passing and silky skills, a real embarrassment for supporters of the Red Devils.
Those who have only seen Juve that once this season would think Max Allegri’s men utterly invincible, however their league performances have been shaky even if the results say otherwise. Still unbeaten in all competitions, the Bianconeri have taken seven points from their last three domestic outings, but they have failed to demonstrate the same kind of superiority shown in Manchester.
This should give Mourinho some food for thought, but both him and his players will have to be on top form if they are to take any kind of result from a team who are yet to concede a goal in Champions League action this season.