Manchester City vs Napoli Preview: Goals expected as England and Italy's best collide

It's top of the Premier League vs top of Serie A at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, with Manchester City out to prove their European credentials.

Manchester City vs Napoli Preview: Goals expected as England and Italy's best collide
A superb chance for City and their new emblem to make a mark on the European stage (Photo: Getty Images / Roland Harrison)

Manchester City host Napoli in one of the week's most hotly-anticipated Champions League clashes on Tuesday evening.

The two teams top their respective divisions having made blistering starts to the season, neither looking like slowing down soon.

Topping the Premier League with seven wins and a solitary draw from their eight games, few would bet against a City side that crushed Stoke City in devastating fashion on Saturday.

However, the other form team in Europe is Napoli. Winning each of their eight league games so far this season, the side from Naples have opened up a two point lead over Inter Milan at the top of Serie A and sit five clear of current holders Juventus.

Napoli seeking to balance priorities 

The only concern for neutrals ahead of the game is how strong Napoli will go, with the league title seemingly priority this season and a big game against the aforementioned Inter coming up on Saturday.

Napoli could do with a win though to shore up their top two spot in Group F, Maurizio Sarri's side only on three points thus far, their 3-1 win over Feyenoord last time out easing worries after a 2-1 defeat to Shakhtar in their European opener.

City can further establish themselves as favourites to win the group by taking all three points on Tuesday, having won their first two group games in convincing fashion.

Starting with the 4-0 demolition of Feyenoord in Holland, they were then made to work at home to Shakhtar, eventually prevailing 2-0 at the Etihad.

De Bruyne vs Mertens in battle of the Belgians

The hosts will hope to have Sergio Aguero in the squad on Tuesday after weeks out with a rib injury sustained in a car crash, manager Pep Guardiola revealing in his pre-match press conference that the Argentinean forward is ahead of schedule in terms of recovery and could return against Napoli. 

"Day by day much better," Pep said on Aguero, adding; "Yesterday [Sunday] he did an amazing training session, the day before Stoke was good but not perfect, yesterday was really good."

If Aguero isn't fit enough to return, the man pressured to put City on his back will surely be Kevin de Bruyne, with the Belgian being in sensational form.

A good few weeks of form went up a notch at the weekend as he provided two mouth-watering assists against the Potters, one pass to Leroy Sane hailed as an early 'pass of the season' contender by pundits. 

Familiar names such as Kalidou Koulibaly and Marek Hamsik will be recognised as quality players in the Napoli ranks, but a catalyst to any potential success for the away side could be de Bruyne's fellow countryman Dries Mertens.

The forward has been a key part of his sides' early season form, scoring six goals in seven league games whilst also finding the target in Europe twice so far.

He'll hope to have a similar impact to the one that former Napoli frontman Edinson Cavani did the last time these two sides met in 2011, Cavani scoring in a 2-1 win for his team, Mario Balotelli on target for City. 

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City expected to get over the line

With Napoli having an eye on the weekend already and City on cloud nine after Saturday's performance, you'd expect the hosts to just about get over the line in this one in regards to claiming all three points.

However, with Napoli's counter-attacking ability, there's certainly a chance that goalkeeper Ederson could find himself picking the ball out of his net one more than one occasion should City be a little too confident in sending men forward.

With two of the best attack's in Europe colliding, even sarcastic suggestions of a 0-0 draw seem silly.