Leicester City vs Napoli: Pre-match Analysis
The Foxes face Napoli in their first Europa League game of the group stage. | Credit: Catherine Ivill | Getty Images

Leicester City host S.S.C Napoli in their first UEFA Europa League fixture of the 2021-22 campaign at the King Power Stadium.

Brendan Rodgers will be hoping his side can bounce back from last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City as the Foxes aim for success on the European stage.

There will be plenty of anticipation for the clash as this will be Leicester's first European fixture since their shocking 2-0 loss to Slavia Prague in the 2020-21 Europa League Round of 32.

The Foxes face a rejuvenated Napoli side, with Luciano Spalletti's team fresh from a 2-1 win over Italian giants Juventus in Serie A.

Rodgers' Selection

Leicester supporters will be eager to see Rodgers' choice for the starting eleven, with the Scotsman having several options for his midfield and attacking options.

Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho may be selected to play alongside lead striker Jamie Vardy. Iheanacho finished the 2020-21 season as Leicester's top scorer with 19 goals in all competitions and has produced some strong displays from the bench.

Kelechi Iheanacho may start against Napoli alongside strike partner Jamie Vardy | Credit: Alex Pantling | Getty Images
Kelechi Iheanacho may start against Napoli alongside strike partner Jamie Vardy | Credit: Alex Pantling | Getty Images

£23 million summer signing Patson Daka could also receive a chance to shine on the European stage upfront alongside Vardy or Iheanacho.

The Zambian forward has struggled for consistent game time since his move from Red Bull Salzburg where he netted 34 goals in 42 games for the Austrian club.

Young midfielder Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall could be given his first experience of European football following some impressive performances this season whilst summer signing Boubakary Soumaré may also get the chance to star in midfield if Rodgers chooses to rotate the team.

Defensive woes for Foxes

The main worry for Leicester supporters will certainly be the strength of their defence against an attacking side like Napoli. 

Rodgers' back-line has struggled since the Foxes' Premier League opening victory against Wolves, conceding six goals in three games with a 1-0 loss to Man City and a 4-1 thrashing from West Ham marking a poor defensive start to the season.

Being plagued by injuries since pre-season, the Foxes have seen five of their first-team defenders absent due to injuries. Summer signing Jannik Vestergaard made his full debut against Man City despite injury worries, he will likely start alongside Çağlar Söyüncü in the heart of the Leicester defence.

Jannik Vestergaard has made a solid start to life at <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://vavel.com/en/football/2021/09/10/leicester-city/1085370-leicester-city-vs-manchester-city-classic-encounters.html' href='https://vavel.com/en/football/2021/09/10/leicester-city/1085370-leicester-city-vs-manchester-city-classic-encounters.html'>Leicester City</a></strong> | Credit: James Williamson | Getty Images
Jannik Vestergaard has made a solid start to life at Leicester City | Credit: James Williamson | Getty Images

Söyüncü has struggled so far this season with several errors costing his side in domestic and international fixtures. The Turkish centre-back may be able to recapture his form when partnered with 29-year-old Vestergaard, who has a wealth of experience under his belt.

Key Battles

Napoli's biggest threat to Leicester are arguably their attacking wingers Matteo Politano and Lorenzo Insigne. Both men have found the net already this season, with Politano scoring a poachers goal in their victory over Juventus.

Foxes' full-backs Timothy Castagne and Luke Thomas may have a tough battle down the wings against the Napoli danger men if Rodgers chooses to start them.

Vardy will also face a difficult challenge as he lines up against Napoli's towering defensive wall of Kostas Manolas and Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly.

Alongside netting the dramatic winner against Juventus, Koulibaly has been an excellent defender for Napoli. His strength and speed have helped him become one of the most reliable defenders in Serie A, making a match-up with the danger of Vardy all the more exciting.

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