Granada plays one of those games that are never forgotten against Napoli (6:55 p.m., Gol TV), this Thursday in the round of 32 and at the Diego Maradona stadium. It is the first time in history that the Andalusian team can pass a European tie, in the field of one of the UEFA Cup champions such as the European team and in their first continental experience. Diego Martínez, the coach of Granada, brought all the members of the squad to southern Italy, whom he wanted to reward with this call. He thus seeks to create the necessary breeding ground for his players to forget the bad moment Granada is going through in LaLiga. The Andalusians have only reaped two points from the last 15 and have six games without knowing the victory. The 2-0 in the first leg against Napoli with goals from Herrera and Kenedy is an exciting advantage for this Granada that has done everything to kick off the Europa League.
Along the way, however, a good number of casualties remain (Quini, Vallejo, Lozano and Luis Suárez) as well as the doubts of fundamental players such as Herrera himself, Luis Milla and Soldado. The European happiness of this Granada collides with the delicate situation of Napoli, seventh in Serie A. “We are going through an ugly moment, due to results and injuries,” said Gennaro Gattuso, the coach of the Italian team. The competitive paralysis of Naples is observed in footballers like the Andalusian Fabian, far from the performance that led him to the Spanish team. The elimination could end Gattuso’s stage on the Neapolitan bench, for which names such as Rafael Benítez from Spain are already associated. The last player the coach will not be able to count on will be Nigerian Victor Osimhen, who hit his head hard in the league match against Atalanta, who defeated the Neapolitans 4-2. Napoli paid Lille 70 million for this striker who was unable to shoot at Ruiz Silva’s goal in the first leg held last week in Los Cármenes. Gattuso recovers Koulibaly and Ghoulam, while Mertens can only play for a few minutes.
Villarreal also defends 0-2 against Salzburg (18.55 Movistar LC). Emery’s men have placed high hopes on this Europa League, a tournament that their coach won three times in a row at Sevilla (2014, 2015 and 2016). Villarreal walks with some doubts in LaLiga, where they accumulate six games without winning with five draws and one defeat, but already in San Mamés last Sunday they offered a good performance (1-1) while their strength lasted. That may make Emery make some rotations considering that Atlético awaits the weekend in LaLiga.
The Real Sociedad will look for an impossible in Old Trafford after the 0-4 of the first leg against Manchester United (21.00, Movistar LC). Those of Imanol Alguacil, who has left Illarramendi and David Silva in San Sebastián, will at least try to wash the image with a victory against a rival who will oppose a team full of substitutes.