Manchester City are Champion’s League debutantes, but at the same time, fourth favourites to win the tournament.
Based on the performance against Napoli, it seems that the squad got caught up in their own hype.
Napoli’s attacking trio was far more tormenting to the City back four than Manchester City’s attacking artillery and, despite coming close to securing victory themselves, the Citizens have no real claim that they deserved anything more than a draw.
This slideshow will provide a quick analysis on each player’s performance. As always, I’m keen to hear all of your opinions on the match.
The England No. 1 had little to do for much of the game and his rustiness was made evident each time Napoli’s attacking trio produced a flash of brilliance.
He was caught well out of position on Pandev’s run late in the game, which could have cost City a draw, and conceded a goal through his feet.
He was beaten on several occasions, saved by the crossbar from Lavezzi’s shot and had a sublime shot by Marek Hamsik cleared off the line thanks to Kompany.
He slid in to deflect Hamšík’s shot over the crossbar midway into the second half, but other than that, the Argentine was redundant for much of the game.
He did try to get forward and support on the overlap but his decision making is still lacking a clinical end product.
Vincent Kompany dramatically cleared Hamšík’s shot off the line past a beaten Joe Hart, which was perhaps the highlight of the match, void of the two goals.
The Belgian international has looked an accomplished centre back in the heart of midfield, despite beginning his career as a midfielder.
He made an uncharacteristic error late in the match; a back pass almost set up the opportunity for Napoli to burry a winner.
Joleon Lescott was continually tormented by the attacking trio of Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani.
Perhaps credit can be applied when considering that City only conceded one goal, but the England defender really did look out of his depth.
He missed an excellent goal-scoring opportunity by spurning a header over the bar early in the second half.
But perhaps Lescott did enough to reassure fans he will improve from the experience of facing that menacing attacking trio.
In Manchester City’s hour of need, Alexsander fired in an unstoppable free kick.
It curled away from De Sanctis and beat him at his inside post.
Prior to his stunning, match-equalising free kick, the Serbian had a solid game at left back and outperformed Zabaleta.
Despite breaking his nose in the first half, the Serb persevered and handled Napoli’s wide play well.
The Ivorian, who can run like the wind, found opportunities to influence the game limited.
He came close to opening the scoring, but his shot, from well inside the penalty, agonisingly thundered off the cross bar.
He was comfortable in the midfield, and made some incisive passes, but he played a little below the high standards he has set for himself.
Every time Gareth Barry plays in a big game, it becomes less and less clear how he manages to find his way into Fabio Capello’s England team.
The central midfielder had a torrid time at the heart of midfield and was perhaps struggling from the ankle niggle he suffered earlier this week.
Nigel De Jong would have offered more resistance.
The wiry Spaniard tried hard to create goal-scoring opportunities for the Citizens, but moments of inspiration were few and far between.
His movement and trickery did create some opportunities, but his teammates were so well marked in the penalty area, it was difficult for the magician to produce his magical Premier League form.
The Frenchman was talismanic for Arsenal in last season’s Champion’s League campaign but was absent for much of the game prior to his substitution after 75 minutes.
His deliveries were inconsistent, meaning that Edin Dzeko was not provided with the service he needs to score goals.
He failed to make a lasting impression against his father-in-law’s former club, but only the woodwork prevented the young Argentine from making a lasting impression.
Aguero’s work rate was evident for all to see, but a lack of service from out wide forced him to move out of position to collect the ball.
Nonetheless, marks have to be rewarded to him for persistence.
His work rate was clear for all to see, and it was not his fault that he was in receipt of so few goal-scoring opportunities.
He showed a willingness to drop deep and collect the ball, in a fashion not dissimilar to Carlos Tevez, but in reality, the Bosnian can only have an impact on the game from the final third of the pitch.
Poor service meant that he never looked likely to add to his early-season goal glut.