UEL Match Preview: Napoli vs Granada Predictions

Napoli vs Granada

Napoli vs Granada predictions and match preview for Thursday’s game in the UEFA Europa League. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as the Andalusians aim to complete a famous European win.

  • DATE: Thursday 25th February 2021
  • KICK-OFF: 18:55 (local time)
  • VENUE: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
  • COMPETITION: UEFA Europa League Last 32, 2nd Leg

Napoli vs Granada Preview

Napoli stadium
Napoli Stadium via Gaetano Capaldo, CC BY 4.0

Napoli’s Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday will be the setting for what could be another magical day in Granada’s history. Los Nazaríes travel to Italy with a healthy 2-0 advantage from the last week’s first leg of this Europa League round of 32 tie.

Although Diego Martínez’s team raced to a two goal lead early on in the first half, managing a clean sheet was always going to be crucial and they did just that. The Andalusians were the underdogs when the draw was made, but now very much seem like the better positioned team to progress to the last 16.

This is of course Granada’s first ever European venture and they have balanced domestic and continental football very admirably. Sitting ninth at the moment, they look well out of any possible relegation troubles and could even target a return to Europe again next season if they finish the league as strongly as they did last term.

This season, El Graná are turning a lot of heads across Europe with the show they’re putting on in the UEL. After progressing from a considerably tough group containing PSV and PAOK, they have now impressively defeated one of the continent’s big teams in Napoli, the 1989 UEFA Cup winners and regular faces in the UCL in recent years. Although the job isn’t finished yet, there are a lot of positives to take for Diego Martínez who continues to further etch his name in Granada history.

The importance of the game in Naples meant that there were nine changes for Sunday’s LaLiga meeting with bottom side Huesca, with only Rui Silva and Foulquier keeping their places. The latter scored an own goal as the Nazaríes were beaten 3-2. What hurt more than the result were maybe the injuries to Alberto Soro and last week’s scorer Yangel Herrera. Although both of them have travelled to Italy, we’ll have to wait and see if they are fully fit to feature or not.

Unlike Granada, Napoli didn’t have the luxury to rest players at the weekend as they were up against fifth-placed Atalanta. Gennaro Gattuso’s team, which had only two changes from the match against Granada, was well beaten 4-2 in Bergamo. The Partenopei’s poor run of form continued and they have now won only one of their last six games, although that was against Italian champions Juventus. Napoli have now slipped to seventh in the Serie A table, their lowest position this season since October. They also failed to defend their Coppa Italia crown, bowing out to Atalanta in the semi finals earlier this month.

The pressure is on Napoli to turn the tie around but history isn’t doing them any favours either. The Italians have lost all of their previous five two-legged encounters against Spanish opposition, with the last win coming all the way back in 1992 against Valencia in the UEFA Cup. At home, they have not won against Spanish sides in the last five attempts, drawing four of them, including the matchday 6 meeting with Real Sociedad in the UEL group stages this season. Also, Napoli have failed to progress from their last five ties in which they lost the first leg away, most recently to Arsenal in the UEL quarter finals two years ago.

Talking about Granada, they have never lost any of their away games in Europe, winning four and drawing one. But of course, neither of those opponents had the pedigree or the experience of this Napoli side.

Head to Head

  • Granada won 2-0 in the 1st Leg last week – the first ever meeting between the clubs.

Team News

The hosts are without a number of players including David Ospina, Andrea Petagna, Elseid Hysaj, Konstantinos Manolas and their season top scorer Hirving Lozano. Striker Victor Osimhen suffered a head injury on Sunday and is doubtful for the match.

Granada continue to miss Luis Suárez, Roberto Soldado, Jesús Vallejo, Luis Milla and Quini. As mentioned earlier, Alberto Soro and Yangel Herrera are also doubtful.

Predicted Napoli Starting Lineup:

Meret – Rui, Maksimović, Koulibaly, Di Lorenzo – Bakayoko, Fabián – Elmas, Zieliński, Politano – Insigne (4-2-3-1)

Predicted Granada Starting Lineup:

Silva – Neva, Duarte, Germán, Foulquier – Eteki, Gonalons – Machís, Montoro, Kenedy – Molina (4-2-3-1)

Napoli vs Granada Predictions

Score Prediction: Napoli 2-1 Granada (AGG: 2-3)

Not returning with an away goal has certainly hurt Napoli a lot and as such, they don’t look like favourites to progress. The pressure is fully on Napoli and the weekend’s loss hasn’t helped to gain any confidence. It feels like one away goal could kill the tie and the Andalusians are capable of getting that and securing a historic last 16 spot.

UEFA Europa League Betting Tips (18+)

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About Akhil Rawat 41 Articles
Based in New Delhi, Akhil follows LaLiga and Spanish football religiously. Currently a novice in the world of football writing, he fancies expressing his passion for the league through words.