There is some big games in the Champions League this Tuesday. Liverpool are facing a must win game away to Maribor. Real Madrid will host Tottenham in what would normally be the tie of the night. But, there is only one game to watch on Tuesday. Manchester City host Napoli at the Etihad and if you’re a neutral, this is the game to watch.
Manchester City top both the Premier League and their Champions League group. Pep Guardiola’s side appear to have clicked and it’s phenomenal to watch. The 7-2 defeat of Stoke on Saturday was, in my opinion, one of the best team performances in the history of the EPL.
Within that performance was a man of the match display from Kevin De Bruyne. The flame haired Belgian is on fire at the moment. After orchestrating the defeat of champions Chelsea a fortnight ago the midfielder was outstanding against Stoke. He’s the outstanding player in England at the minute. Indeed, there probably isn’t anyone in Europe in better form over the last few games.
Goals have become guaranteed in City’s games so far. The Blue’s have netted 29 times in their opening 8 Premier League matches. A stat made even more remarkable given that in two of those eight games, they only scored once. The goals have been spread about the side too. Six different scorers found the net against Stoke. Brazilian wonderkid Gabriel Jesus grabbed a brace in the game and Sergio Aguero's world-class talents weren't even required.
The visitors to the Etihad are no strangers in terms of goal scoring themselves. Their propensity for hitting the back of the net is one of many similarities with their midweek hosts.
Before the international break the Neapolitan’s beat Cagliari 3-0. In doing so they became the first side to score 25 or more goals in their opening 7 Serie A fixtures. Napoli are fantastic to watch. Maurizio Sarri has his team playing in a fantastically entertaining fashion. Their start to season has underlined their ambitions to become Serie A Champions for the first time since 1990.
Diego Maradona lead the ‘Partenopei’ to their last league title. The teams current captain, Marek Hamsik, is one goal away from Diego’s Napoli scoring record. It’s another Belgian though, who has been the talisman for the Italian side in recent seasons. Dries Mertens could well be the most improved player in Europe following his transformation from midfielder to striker. The 30-year-old has scored 57 times in 79 Serie A appearances for Napoli.
Mertens was rested for Napoli’s opening Champions League tie away against Shakhtar. Perhaps this was a sign that Serie A is being treated as a priority by manager Sarri. That defeat in match day one means that Napoli can ill afford to rest players again as they look to qualify for the next round.
So all eyes should be on the Etihad on Tuesday. The irresistible force meets.... the irresistible force! In comparing the two sides I was very much reminded of City’s last 16 tie against Monaco last season. The first leg of which was the best game I witnessed last season. We might not see eight goals on Tuesday. But two in-form, high quality sides will be on show. Goals may not be guaranteed but high quality football and superb players certainly are.
So, if you’re trying to decide which match to watch on Tuesday night, look no further. You won’t be disappointed.