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Faouzi Ghoulam may return against Sparta Prague

Napoli get a much-needed bit of good news ahead of their first Europa League fixture.

Giuseppe Bellini

Things aren't looking so hot for Napoli right now after yesterday's horrid performance against Napoli. The team looked disjointed, and it's clear some things need to change. With options somewhat limited in some areas, though, there's only so much Napoli can do to affect those changes.

Fortunately, they may be getting one option back. La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Faouzi Ghoulam is close to a return after suffering a fractured arm last month against Athletic Bilbao, and may be able to play as soon as this Thursday against Sparta Prague in the Europa League. It's actually a slightly early return, with the original projections after his diagnosis putting his return at least another week away.

The return is good news for Napoli; they've suffered with wide play since his departure, and while Camilo Zuniga has done a good job on the left in his place, the poor form of Christian Maggio on the right has allowed opponents to target one side in attack and take away the other in defense without much risk. Ghoulam's return would allow Zuniga to shift to the right and restore balance to Napoli's formation.

Hopefully Ghoulam is actually ready to return and isn't being rushed back out of need. Not that there isn't a need, there definitely is, but testing a broken limb before it's properly healed is a good way to break it again and have him miss even more time. Given how much Napoli have missed him, losing him to another prolonged injury spell would be bad news.