Nice vs Napoli preview

August 21, 2017
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

As much as Nice players would like to believe otherwise, this tie was decided a week ago, and les Aiglons will need a genuine miracle if they want to defy the odds.

Napoli should have probably scored few more goals at Stadio San Paolo, but even a 2-0 win can give them plenty of confidence ahead of the trip to Cote d’Azur.

Nice were the main surprise package in French Ligue 1 last season, finishing third behind Monaco and PSG to clinch the final Champions League berth.

Les Aiglons have since seen Dalbert Henrique, Ricardo Pereira and Valentin Eysseric leave the club, but they also recruited some very good players.

Wesley Sneijder is undoubtedly the capture of the summer, while Christophe Jallet and Alain Saint-Maximin are also expected to improve the quality of the squad.

But, with Sneijder and Balotelli sidelined, Nice struggled in the opening exchanges, losing three straight fixtures after eliminating Ajax in Europe.

The team were especially disappointing in the 2-0 loss to Napoli, and now have a mountain to climb in the second leg.

The good news is that both key men are back in contention, but Vincent Koziello and Alassane Plea are both suspended.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Cardinale – Souquet, Le Marchand, Dante, Sarr – Jallet, Seri, Tameze – Lees Melou, Balotelli, Sneijder.

Napoli have been playing great football under Maurizio Sarri and this could very well turn out to be one of their most successful seasons yet.

The Azzurri had no reason for heavy summer recruitment as they already had a pretty good squad, with Mario Rui and Adam Ounas the only notable signings.

Having entered the new campaign with a virtually unchanged squad, Napoli were always expected to enjoy a bright start to the season, and they did not disappoint.

The Azzurri looked really good in the 2-0 triumph over Nice creating few more excellent chances to score and chances are they will dominate the return leg as well.

Maurizio Sarri will again have fully fit squad to select from, with Allan, Dries Mertens and Jorginho set to return to the starting line-up.

Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Reina – Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam – Hamsik, Jorginho, Allan – Callejon, Mertens, Insigne.

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