The 2020-21 edition of the UEFA Europa League kicks off with an interesting round of fixtures this week as AZ Alkmaar take on an in-form Napoli outfit at the San Paolo Stadium. With Real Sociedad also a part of Group F in the Europa League, this fixture could be potentially crucial for both sides.
AZ Alkmaar have been fairly inconsistent this season and will need to put in a convincing performance on Thursday to turn their season around. The Dutch giants have secured four consecutive draws in the Eredivisie over the past month and have several issues to sort out against Napoli.
Napoli, on the other hand, have been in excellent form and their 4-1 victory against Atalanta will hold them in good stead going into this game. Gennaro Gattuso has built an excellent side at Napoli and will want to prove a point in this game.
Napoli vs AZ Alkmaar Head-to-Head
Napoli and AZ Alkmaar have never played against each other in an official fixture and will want to get their track records off to a positive start this week. Both teams have talented squads and can potentially take something away from this fixture.
Apart from an unfortunate fiasco involving Juventus, Napoli have been in exceptional form this season and have been lethal in the final third. AZ Alkmaar have their fair share of defensive issues and cannot afford to slip up in this game.
Napoli form guide: W-L-W-W-W
AZ Alkmaar form guide: D-D-D-D-L
Napoli vs AZ Alkmaar Team News
Napoli stars Eljif Elmas and Piotr Zielinski have tested positive for the coronavirus and are unavailable for this game. Gennaro Gattuso has an excellent squad and is likely to name an attacking line-up for this game.
Injured: Eljif Elmas, Piotr Zielinski
Not Available: Arkadiusz Milik, Kevin Malcuit
AZ Alkmaar will be unable to avail the services of Jeremy Helmer in this game. The Dutch side has not been at its best in recent weeks and will need to step up to the plate against Napoli.
Injured: Jeremy Helmer
Not Available: None
Napoli vs AZ Alkmaar Predicted XI
Napoli Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Alex Meret; Elseid Hysaj, Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly, Giovanni Di Lorenzo; Diego Demme, Fabian Ruiz; Hirving Lozano, Dries Mertens, Matteo Politano; Victor Osimhen
AZ Alkmaar Predicted XI (4-3-3): Hobie Verhulst; Owen Wijndal, Bruno Martins Indi, Ramon Leeuwin, Jonas Svensson; Dani de Wit, Teun Koopmeiners, Fredrik Midtsjo; Jesper Karlsson, Calvin Stengs, Myron Boadu
Napoli vs AZ Alkmaar Prediction
Napoli have an excellent attacking line-up and will want to take full toll of AZ Alkmaar's defensive issues in this game. The likes of Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano have been sensational over the past few weeks and hold the upper hand in this game.
AZ Alkmaar can be effective in the final third but will need to put in a well-drilled defensive performance to stand a chance against Gattuso's swashbuckling outfit. Napoli have plenty of talent in their ranks and should be able to win this game.
Prediction: Napoli 3-1 AZ Alkmaar
Published 20 Oct 2020, 16:27 IST