It's time for Napoli's preseason preparations to get kicked up a notch or three. After rolling over such footballing luminaries as FeralpiSalo, they're now faced with a trip to France and a match against an actual first division side in Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice. Will Maurizio Sarri and his tactics translate to facing a better quality of opponent? There's only one way to find out.
"It will be...Nice"
OGC Nice are a mildly interesting team in Ligue 1. They've been a midtable side for awhile, but last season showed the potential to be something more -- until this summer anyways, when a number of their better players got poached by other clubs. Jordan Amavi, Eric Bautheac, and Didier Digard represent big losses for Nice, losses they haven't fully replaced yet.
Claude Puel will have a tough task ahead of him to recraft his side into something that can take a step forward, but at least he has more transfer funds available to him than he typically has in the past, thanks in large part to the €11 million fee they received from Aston Villa for Amavi. For now, though, he has to find a way to get a patchwork side though this friendly, and that won't be easy.
Time to kick it up a notch
Napoli have so far cruised through their early friendlies against low-league Italian sides, but now it's time to really test the new tactics and setup Maurizio Sarri has introduced. This is going to be the first real guidepost to see how things are progressing, and that makes this match absolutely vital with the season rapidly approaching.
New signings Vlad Chiriches and Elseid Hysaj are in the squad to face Nice, though Napoli will be without several players as well. Gonzalo Higuain and Camilo Zuniga aren't yet match fit after only just returning to training from their post-Copa America vacations, while Marek Hamsik, Pepe Reina, and Ivan Strinic have been nursing minor injuries, and Raul Albiol appears to be getting held out after his head injury against Cittadela. .
Projected Lineups Sure To Be Wrong
Nice: Hassen; Puel, Genevois, Bodmer, Le Marchand; Mendy, Hult, Traore; Ben Arfa, Germain, Eysseric
Napoli: Gabriel; Maggio, Henrique, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Valdifiori, De Guzman; Insigne; Mertens, Gabbiadini
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