clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Napoli starters for Champions League tie against Bilbao yet to be decided

Giuseppe Bellini

Napoli's first match of Champions League qualifying is less than eight hours away, but there's still plenty of speculation over who will start against Athletic Bilbao.

To which we can say, thank goodness. While Conor's projected lineups had both Faouzi Ghoulam and Gokhan Inler starting, apparently Gazzetta felt that it would be Miguel Britos at left back and Walter Gargano in the middle.

Which...what? Yes, if Napoli were coming out of this match having to play Juventus and then heading to Spain for the second leg, perhaps it would be ok to field those two. But there's no league match until after the second tie, so there's absolutely no excuse for not playing the strongest side available.

Fortunately, GdS look to have decided that both Ghoulam and Inler are "threatening" to replace Britos and Gargano. Which means we can "threaten" to put aside our pillows and actually watch the match without crying.

In general, this match is terrifying. Napoli's World Cup stars simply haven't had enough time in preseason with the rest of the team, which is likely the reason we'll see Lorenzo Insigne starting and Dries Mertens causing havoc as a supersub. For Gonzalo Higuaín, however, there's still no substitute, so even if Pipita isn't entirely match-fit, it's almost certain he'll get the start.

What's your prediction for Napoli's starting XI? And would you be...concerned...if either Britos or Gargano got the nod from the start?