Champions League preview: Napoli v Manchester City

City take on Napoli in what feels like a play-off to progress from the Champions League group stages. Roberto Mancini knows Naples well and the team ought to be well prepared for a difficult game.

There has been much talk of the intimidating atmosphere, Napoli’s home record in European competition and, of course, the attacking trio of Cavani, Lavezzi and Hamsik. Yet City are full of confidence having won their last nine fixtures, while Napoli have won only two of their last eight in Serie A.

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Champions League verdict: Villarreal 0 Manchester City 3

City’s first ever away victory in Europe’s premier club competition could hardly have been more comfortable thanks to a clinical pair of Yaya Toure strikes sandwiching a Mario Balotelli penalty. Injuries and Aguero’s last minute winner in the previous round had clearly taken their toll on Villarreal.

Roberto Mancini sprung a surprise in selecting Stefan Savic ahead of Joleon Lescott. Maybe the manager didn’t want to risk Joleon ahead of the game against QPR when Kompany is suspended. With Villarreal impotent in attack Savic was able to demonstrate his excellent composure on the ball – you have to remind yourself he’s still only 20.

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Champions League verdict: Manchester City 2 Villarreal 1

City clocked up their first win in the Champions League thanks to an injury time strike from Sergio Aguero. Roberto Mancini called it “lucky” and the overall performance left a lot to be desired, but our Champions League campaign is finally up and running.

As expected Mancini made several changes from the side that trounced Aston Villa. Dzeko and Nasri were both restored to the attack, while Zabaleta and Kolarov came in at full-back.

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