After an unbeaten start to the 2022/23 campaign, Napoli fly to the Netherlands to meet Ajax in their third group stage match of the Champions League this season.
Productive at both ends of the field, Napoli are currently on a six-match winning streak. Despite missing a sublime threat in Victor Osimhen to an injury, Luciano Spalletti’s side has not shown any sign of fragility. Many have already bet on them as the favourite to win the Scudetto at the end of the 2022/23 season. But how far could they go in the Champions League? For now, the path ahead looks rosy for the team hailing from Naples.
Ajax have faced a couple of setbacks in recent weeks, instigating a sense of pessimism among their supporters ahead of their crucial tie against the Italian side on Tuesday evening.
Results in the last five games in all competitions
Replacing Erik ten Hag to become the head coach of Ajax’s senior side in the summer, Alfred Schreuder remains determined to find the right balance in the team. Nevertheless, Jorge Sánchez and Ahmetcan Kaplan remain sidelined with their respective injuries.
Osimhen has returned to training but has not reportedly regained his match sharpness to feature in the game against the Dutch side. Giacomo Raspadori picked up a knock at the weekend but should make the bench on Tuesday, while Giovanni Simeone is likely to lead the line for the visitors.
Ajax (4-3-3): Pasveer; Rensch, Timber, Bassey, Blind; Berghuis, Alvarez, Taylor; Tadic, Kudus, Bergwijn
Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Min-jae, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Lozano, Simeone, Kvaratskhelia.
Napoli’s superb form in Italy and then in Europe suggests that Ajax should go into the fixture as the underdogs. But the European nights are made for the underdogs to thrive. Could they end Napoli’s unbeaten run in all competitions? We have to wait for the answer.
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder