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UEFA Champions League

  • 7 December 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Camp El Madrigal, Villarreal
  • Referee: S. Moen
  • • Attendance: 15350
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Villarreal - Napoli Preview: Serie A side look to ensure Champions League qualification at the expense of Manchester City

Villarreal - Napoli Preview: Serie A side look to ensure Champions League qualification at the expense of Manchester City

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An away victory for Walter Mazzarri's side would ensure qualification for the knockout stages, while the beleaguered hosts will be looking for their first points of the campaign


PROBABLE LINEUPS

VILLARREAL
Villarreal
Lopez
Mario, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Oriol
Bruno, De Guzman

Perez, Camunas, Moises
Ruben
NAPOLI

De Sanctis
Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica
Maggio, Gargano, Inler, Dossena
Hamsik, Lavezzi
Cavani

Villarreal have been boosted by the return of Nilmar, who made a substitute appearance in the weekend defeat to Racing, but coach Juan Carlos Garrido may opt not to risk the forward, with their fate in the competition long since sealed.

The Spanish outfit are definitely without Giuseppe Rossi, summer signings Cristian Zapata and Javier Camunas, while Jose Catala is also ruled out. Borja Valero and Cani have both been forced to withdraw, meaning Javier Camunas is likely to play behind Ruben. Joan Oriol will deputise at left-back.

Napoli are near full strength for the visit to El Madrigal on Wednesday, with Marco Donadel and Miguel Britos the only players missing through injury. A number of the side's star players will return after being rested during the 4-2 Serie A win over Lecce at the weekend, a game in which Edinson Cavani returned after suffering with a leg injury.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Villarreal have had their worst ever Champions League campaign and are yet to pick up a single point in Group A, having scored only two goals in their five games so far.
  • When the two teams met in Naples in September, Juan Carlos Garrido's team succumbed to a 2-0 defeat courtesy of first-half strikes from Marek Hamsik and Edinson Cavani.
  • No Italian side has ever won at El Madrigal (four defeats and one draw).
  • Victory for Napoli would guarantee them a spot in the Champions League last 16, consigning big-spending Manchester City to a place in the Europa League in the process.
  • Cavani has scored four goals from only four shots on target in this season's Champions League.
  • Excluding qualifiers, Walter Mazzarri's men have won none of their last nine away games in Europe (four draws and five defeats), including a 2-1 loss to Villarreal last season in the Europa League.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
25Diego López RodríguezGoalkeeper
3Joan OriolDefender
4Mateo MusacchioDefender
-ÁngelDefender
17Cristian ZapataDefender
20Jonathan De GuzmánMidfielder
11Hernán PérezMidfielder
-Marcos Senna Midfielder
21SorianoMidfielder
12NilmarStriker
-Marco RubenStriker
-CésarGoalkeeper
2Gonzalo RodríguezDefender
24Carlos MarchenaDefender
14Mario GasparDefender
18Javi CamuñasMidfielder
-Marcos GullónMidfielder
41JoseluStriker
26Morgan De SanctisGoalkeeper
-Salvatore AronicaDefender
14Hugo CampagnaroDefender
-Paolo CannavaroDefender
11Christian MaggioMidfielder
17Marek HamsikMidfielder
18Camilo ZúñigaDefender
5Walter GarganoMidfielder
88Gökhan InlerMidfielder
9Edinson CavaniStriker
21Ezequiel LavezziStriker
22Antonio RosatiGoalkeeper
-Gianluca GravaDefender
3Andrea DossenaDefender
21Federico FernándezDefender
-Mario SantanaMidfielder
20Blerim DzemailiMidfielder
19Goran PandevStriker
Players to Watch
Borja Valero
Borja Valero
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The creative midfielder has been one of the Spanish side's better performers this campaign and if his side are to stand a chance on Wednesday evening, he will be needed to unlock Napoli's defence.
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 21
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Argentine created Napoli's first goal and won the penalty for their second when the two sides met in September. The tricky forward is likely to be a real handful for the leaky Villarreal back line.
Prediction
Villarreal have struggled in domestic and European competition this season and it is hard look to beyond a Napoli away win as the Italians go in search of a crucial victory to qualify from Group A.
Editor's Prediction
Napoli 2

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