Napoli’s hopes of progressing out of the group stage of the Champions League depend on them beating Feyenoord in Rotterdam on 6 December, which most betting men would tip them to – but they also need Manchester City to beat Shakhtar Donetsk over in the Ukraine.
Pep Guardiola, having seen his team win the group with five out of five victories, has afforded himself the luxury of resting players ahead of the Manchester derby, which takes place the weekend after, but there is a desperation from Naples for City to field a strong team and beat Fonseca’s impressive side for a second time.
And while Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has said he won’t call his friend and fellow football purist Pep, captain Marek Hamsik has commented on the situation that leaves the Partenopei needing a favour from City.
“I believe in qualification. I know it’s not just in our hands,” Hamsik told the Italian press on Friday. “We have to focus on ourselves and we want to beat Feyenoord.
“I hope Manchester City will help us with Shakhtar. The English want to win every game, I hope they will in the Ukraine too.”
City are unlikely to do Napoli any special favours, but with the squad depth that exists in Guardiola’s squad, even a second string side may have a fighting chance of beating Shakhtar if they play well on the night.
The likes of Claudio Bravo, Danilo, Bernardo Silva and İlkay Gündoğan – all experienced internationals – could play a part, while the young trio of Phil Foden, Brahim Díaz and Tosin Adarabioyo will hope for some Champions League experience over in eastern Europe.
The Big City Christmas Store is Now Open!
Get your City-themed Christmas jumpers, stocking fillers and other gifts for the family at the City Store!