Leicester vs Napoli Preview and Expected Lineups – UEL Round 1

Napoli have made a fine start to their 2021/22 Serie A campaign, having won all three of their first matches. New head coach Luciano Spalletti will be looking to continue their form into Europe as they face a difficult Leicester side away from home in arguably their toughest fixture of the group. They will also play Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw in Group C.

Leicester vs Napoli Head-to-Head

The two sides are yet to face each other in a competitive fixture. The hosts will play their second consecutive season in the Europa League and it will be the first time they face Italian opposition in Europe. Napoli will also play their second consecutive season in the Europa League and will look to improve on last season’s showing after they were knocked out in the Round of 32 against Granada. They last played against an English opponent in the 2019/20 Champions League where they went undefeated in the group stage against Liverpool, winning 2-0 at the San Paolo and drawing 1-1 at Anfield.

Leicester Preview

Leicester have had a mixed start to their Premier League season winning two and losing two in their first four games. They picked up narrow wins at home to Wolves and away to Norwich but suffered a 4-1 defeat away to West Ham and also a 1-0 loss at home to Man City in their last match. They currently sit ninth in the Premier League, scoring a total of four goals and conceding six.

Brendan Rodgers was able to guide Leicester to a first place finish in the Europa League last season, winning four, drawing one and losing one. They played in a fairly easy group that comprised of Braga, Zoryha Luhansk and AEK Athens. However, they were knocked out by Slavia Praha in the Round of 32, losing 2-0 on aggregate and they will be hoping they can advance deeper into the competition this year.

Napoli Preview

The Partenopei are flying high at the moment under Spalletti and will be looking to take their momentum into Europe. They defeated Juventus 2-1 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in their last match after coming from a goal down early in the first half. Matteo Politano drew the scores level early in the second half before Kalidou Kouliably grabbed a late winner as Napoli took home all three points.

Napoli sit third in Serie A, level on points with Milan and Roma, who have also started the season with 100% records. They faced Venezia and Genoa in their first two fixtures, winning 2-0 and 2-1 respectively, scoring a total of six goals and conceding just two to start their campaign.

After finishing top of Group F last season in the Europa League, Napoli will be disappointed to have been knocked out by Granada in the Round of 32 and will be aiming to head deeper into the competition this time around.

Leicester vs Napoli Players to Watch

Thirty-four-year-old Jamie Vardy has once again had a strong start to the season, scoring two and assisting one in four league appearances. Leicester will be looking to him once again to provide the goals on Thursday. James Maddison is also a key man in the Foxes midfield and scored the opening goal inside 30 minutes in their Europa League matchday one last season.

Politano will be an important figure for the Partenopei having scored their equaliser against Juventus last time out, especially since captain Lorenzo Insigne is expected to miss the match. Victor Osimhen is expected to lead the line on Thursday and he will be looking to grab his first goals of the season, building on his 10 goals in all competitions from last term.

Leicester vs Napoli Predicted Lineups

Brendan Rodgers usually deploys a 4-2-3-1 system and has used this formation in all matches this season bar the win against Norwich where he used a 4-4-2. Pereira was only fit enough to start on the bench in their last match and so Timothy Castagne may continue at right-back. Wesley Fofana, Nampalys Mendy and James Justin all remain out with long-term injuries. Jannik Vestergaard completed 60 minutes against Man City as he looks to return to full fitness and may start again on Thursday.

Napoli have an array of injury issues, including capatin Insigne who was subbed off against Juventus and is likely to miss out on Thursday. Record goalscorer Dries Mertens remains out having not made an appearance so far this season, whilst full-back Faouzi Ghoulam will also be out of contention. Midfielders Diego Demme and Stanislav Lobotka are both expected to be absent, meaning new signing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will likely join Fabian Ruiz and Eljif Elmas in center-midfield in a 4-3-3 system.

Leicester (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Castagne, Vestergaard, Soyuncu, Bertrand; Soumare, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.

Napoli (4-3-3): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Elmas, Ruiz, Anguissa; Politano, Osimhen, Lozano.