Napoli have one last Europa League group stage match before the knockout round draw on Monday. This one's going to be at home, with Polish side Legia Warsaw coming for a visit, looking for some modicum of revenge for their 2-0 loss in Poland in October.
What is there to say, really? Napoli have nothing to play for, other than a chance to be statistically the best team in European competitions through the group stage, and the only team to go undefeated in the round. They've already locked up the top spot in their group, and nothing that happens in this match can hurt or improve their standing right now.
And how seriously Napoli are chasing that statistical best is up for debate, despite Maurizio Sarri's claim that it's a priority. All of Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik, Pepe Reina, and Faouzi Ghoulam have been left out of the squad, indicating that Napoli will heavily rotate for a second straight Europa League match, and Manolo Gabbiadini still unavailable, with the team not willing to risk him in a meaningless match as he returns from injury.
That leaves the lineup in something of a lurch, with Jose Callejon likely to feature at center forward again -- not something that worked especially well against Club Brugge, but hey, why not.
From Legia's perspective, this is an interesting opportunity. That match against Napoli was the second to last for Henning Berg before being fired, and since Stanislav Cherchesov took over on October 6th, they've lost just twice -- once in the league, and once in the Europa League. If Cherchesov's name is familiar, that's for good reason, as he managed Dinamo Moscow against Napoli last season in the Europa League knockout rounds. Napoli beat his team 3-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, a result that he'll be eager to avenge if given the opportunity.
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Legia Warsaw: Kuciak; Bereszynski, Pazdan, Rzezniczak, Brzyski; Jodlowiec, Furman; Guilherme, Duda, Kucharczyk; Nikolics
Napoli: Gabriel; Maggio, Chriches, Henrique, Strinic; Chalobah, Valdifiori, Lopez; El Kaddouri, Callejon, Mertens
At A Glance
Legia Warsaw: 2nd in Ekstraklasa; 10W 6D 3L; League Form: WWDWW
Napoli: 3rd; 9W 4D 2L; League Form: LWWWD
Reverse Fixture: Legia Warsaw 0-2 Napoli
Napoli were fairly flat in the first half of their trip to Poland, but a strong second half saw them win 2-0. Even with Napoli looking shaky earlier on, it never seemed terribly likely that Warsaw were going to break through -- they were so focused on keeping Napoli from scoring that they struggled badly going forward. Then Legia wore down in the second half, Napoli scored twice, and that was that.
TV: TSN3 (Canada), Sky Calcio 1, Sky Calcio 4, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia (Italy), Canal+ Sport (Poland)
Online: Fox Soccer 2 Go (U.S.), Canal+ Sport Online (Poland), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, we'll have a match thread live here for discussion of the game at hand. You can also follow along with us live on Twitter, and we'll have updates of the most important events on our Facebook page, which you should definitely like.