Napoli vs Real Sociedad predictions and match preview for Thursday’s decisive UEFA Europa League group stage clash. Read on for analysis as La Real aim to reach the knockout stage in Naples.
- DATE: Thursday 10th December 2020
- KICK-OFF: 18:55 (Local time)
- VENUE: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
- COMPETITION: UEFA Europa League
Napoli vs Real Sociedad Preview
The newly renamed Stadio Diego Armando Maradona plays host to the make-or-break match for Real Sociedad as they visit Naples on the last matchday of the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League group stages. La Real’s passage to the knockouts depends on this crunch tie and they can take top spot in the group with a win. But anything other than that will mean no European action at Anoeta in the new year if Dutch side AZ win away at Rijeka.
Imanol Alguacil was left frustrated on the touchlines last Thursday with his side conceding two goals from set pieces against already-eliminated Rijeka. La Real had to come back twice in the 2-2 draw but a point didn’t help matters much as qualification now depends on a result against Napoli, who beat them in the reverse fixture in October.
Real Sociedad’s form has taken a hit recently and goals are starting to dry up a bit with the Basques drawing their last four matches in all competitions, scoring only thrice in the process. Their captain and leading goalscorer Mikel Oyarzabal is out injured due to a muscle problem and the congested run of matches is starting to take a toll on the fitness of regular first-team players.
La Real surrendered their lead at the top of LaLiga to Atlético de Madrid on Sunday after they could only reply to Los Colchoneros’ win over Valladolid with a goalless draw against Alavés. The match might have belonged to Imanol’s side if not for Fernando Pacheco’s heroics in the Alavés goal on a rainy evening at Mendizorrotza.
Even with the home side reduced to ten men, Real Sociedad were unable to break through in the second half and that really reveals their struggles in front of goal. They have now scored only two goals from open play in their last four LaLiga matches.
The European distractions are set to end after Thursday for Imanol Alguacil and his team only has LaLiga football to focus on until the end of the year including huge matches against Atlético, Barcelona and derby rivals Athletic. A win in Italy and qualification to the next round could be the perfect way for La Real to get their form back on track.
But that could be very tricky to achieve against a Napoli side showing tremendous strength of late. Gennaro Gattuso’s men head into this match after back-to-back 4-0 wins over Roma and Crotone in Serie A and possess the best home attack in their league this season with 15 goals.
Real Sociedad will, however, take confidence from the fact that all of Napoli’s defeats this season have come at home, including a 1-0 win for AZ on Matchday 1 in the Europa League. In November, Sassuolo and Milan also managed to return with a victory.
This is only Real Sociedad’s third ever trip to Italy and the last one came 17 years ago when they were beaten 4-2 by Juventus in the Champions League group stages. Napoli also don’t have the best of records against Spanish opponents at home with only two wins in eight matches and none in the last four.
Napoli vs Real Sociedad Predictions
Score Prediction: Napoli 1-0 Real Sociedad
Real Sociedad do not go into this match as favourites. If recent form is anything to go by, the hosts would not find it too tough to unlock the Spanish defence. With Napoli holding plenty more European experience under their belt than La Real, they are much better prepared for showdowns like this. Nevertheless, Imanol’s talented side will have their share of chances but have to make them count, something which we haven’t seen from them lately.
Napoli vs Real Sociedad Betting Tips (18+)
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