MX23RW : Thursday, November 26 23:29:44| >> :600:145369:145369:
Oct 29, 2020 at 8pm UK at Estadio Anoeta
Real SociedadReal Sociedad
0-1
NapoliNapoli

Le Normand (72')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Politano (56')
Lozano (45'), Osimhen (81')
Osimhen (90+3')

Preview: Real Sociedad vs. Napoli - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Real Sociedad and Napoli, including prediction, team news and possible lineups.

Two of the most in-form teams on the continent clash on Thursday night as Real Sociedad and Napoli meet for the first time in UEFA competition in Europa League Group F.

Sociedad moved above Real Madrid atop the La Liga standings after Mikel Oyarzabal's brace helped earn a 4-1 victory over Huesca at the weekend, while Napoli beat Benevento to sit second in Serie A.


Match preview

Real Sociedad midfielder David Silva in action against Real Madrid in La Liga on September 20, 2020© Reuters

An injury-time strike from substitute Jon Bautista gave the Liga leaders Real a dramatic 1-0 victory at Croatian side Rijeka on the opening day of their European campaign.

Napoli, meanwhile, were shocked by AZ Alkmaar, losing by the same score at San Paolo - despite having 73% possession - to end the Partenopei's six-match home winning run in Europa League group stage matches.

Imanol Alguacil's Sociedad side will be looking to make a serious impression in European competition this season as they also seek to push for a top four place, having ended the 2019-20 campaign in sixth.

That was enough to secure La Real a return to European football after a two-season absence. They also reached the final of the Copa del Rey, against Basque rivals Athletic Club, but that fixture has been postponed indefinitely.

This season has started in a similar vein - including in Europe - as they seem to have effortlessly overcome the departure of chief creator Martin Odegaard. The signing of Manchester City legend David Silva, of course, helped significantly in that regard.

Napoli players celebrate Lorenzo Insigne's goal against Liverpool in pre-season on July 28, 2019© Reuters

Napoli continued their ascendant trajectory on Sunday, as both Insigne brothers - the Neapolitan club's captain Lorenzo and Benevento striker Roberto - found the net in the Campania derby, with Andrea Petagna later replacing Dries Mertens to score the winner. It was closer run than many expected beforehand, but Gennaro Gattuso's side still sealed the three points.

Now their attention reverts to continental matters. After four successive seasons in the Champions League, Napoli returned to the Europa League group stage, courtesy of winning the Coppa Italia via a shoot-out victory against Juventus, and are surely aiming to win it.

The Italian heavyweights have never failed to qualify from their section at this level, winning all six matches last time out in 2015-16, when they also set the current record for the most goals scored in a Europa League group (22).

However, there have been just two wins for Napoli in their last ten European away fixtures, which may strike a note of caution in their camp before this tough assignment in Northern Spain.

They travel to the Anoeta, then, with recent precedent against them and facing a stern test of their ever-rising confidence. It promises to be quite a clash, even one befitting a final.

Real Sociedad Europa League form: W
Real Sociedad form (all competitions): WLWWWW

Napoli Europa League form: L
Napoli form (all competitions): WWLWLW


Team News

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso pictured on October 17, 2020© Reuters

Real Sociedad have several injury issues to manage. Both captain and former Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi and Luca Sangalli remain injured.

There are doubts over the availability of former Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, forwards Ander Barrenetxea and Martin Merquelanz, right-back Joseba Zaldua and highly-rated midfielder Igor Zubeldia.

Oyarzabal and exciting Sweden forward Alexander Isak should lead the attack for Imanol Alguacil's side.

Meanwhile, Napoli are in the rare and fortunate position of having no serious injury concerns, so manager Gennaro Gattuso is expected to have a fully-fit squad at his disposal.

Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas returned from quarantine measures last week and could feature at some stage, while Insigne and Tiemoue Bakayoko may be rested.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Elustondo, Le Normand, Monreal; Zubimendi, Silva, Merino; Portu, Isak, Oyarzabal

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Ruiz, Lobotka; Politano, Mertens, Lozano; Osimhen


SM words green background

We say: Real Sociedad 2-2 Napoli

Both sides are on the up domestically, but are already separated by three points in Europa League Group F.

There is little to separate them in terms of quality, even if the visitors can boast more recent European experience - most of which was at a higher level.

Napoli's explosive attack - plus their need to get off the mark - can inspire them to take at least a point home from this enticing encounter.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:curl

ID:419719:cQx

Who will win Thursday's Europa League clash between Real Sociedad and Napoli?

Real Sociedad
Draw
Napoli
Real Sociedad
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Napoli
0.0%
0
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Tiemoue Bakayoko pictured for Monaco in November 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Sociedad107212141723
2Atletico MadridAtletico86201821620
3Villarreal105411410419
4Real Madrid95221510517
5CadizCadiz10424811-314
6Granada94231014-414
7Sevilla8413118313
8Athletic Bilbao9405119212
9Valencia103341716112
10ElcheElche833289-112
11Getafe933389-112
12Real Betis104061221-912
13Barcelona8323159611
14Osasuna932489-111
15AlavesAlaves10244912-310
16EibarEibar1024469-310
17Real Valladolid102351015-59
18Levante9144914-57
19Huesca10073816-87
20Celta Vigo10145819-117

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