Victor Osimhen out of Napoli’s XI for crucial Europa League clash
The Neapolitans are in search of their first win in the competition this term but have kept arguably their best player out of the starting eleven
Victor Osimhen is not in Napoli’s first eleven that will lineup to trade tackles with Group C leaders Legia Warszawa at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium this Thursday evening.
The Polish giants have six points from two games and could scatter Napoli’s hopes of making it to the next round of the Europa League with another win on matchday three.
But head coach Luciano Spalletti has one eye on this weekend’s Serie A clash against Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, and he has opted to start Belgian forward Dries Mertens in place of the in-form Osimhen.
Napoli are yet to win a game after two rounds of matches in the Europa League.
The Neapolitans sit bottom of Group C with one point and have Osimhen to thank for that, with the Nigerian scoring twice at Leicester City to force the Foxes to a 2-2 draw.
The club-record signing came off the bench on matchday two to score another, but it was not enough to help Napoli avoid a home defeat to Victor Moses’ Spartak Moscow.
But with a tough Serie A clash against Roma at the weekend, coach Spalletti has decided to keep his star player on the bench from the start in Naples.
Meanwhile, former Chievo Verona forward Sergio Pellissier reveals he was always an Osimhen fan even when he struggled to settle in at Napoli in his debut season.
And the 42-year-old is relieved to see the young Nigerian show his worst critics that he is one of Serie A’s finest strikers.
“Osimhen is an excellent striker; I liked him a lot even when he couldn’t fit in,” Pellissier told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli, as per TuttoNapoli.
“Although he is not huge, he is physically strong with good heading ability; he knows how to play on the edge of offside, and these qualities make him one of the most complete strikers in the league.
Osimhen is Serie A’s second most valuable forward after Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, as per Transfermarkt and the Super Eagles star is the joint-fourth most prolific goalscorer in the Italian division with five goals after game week eight.
Only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile (7), Cagliari’s Joao Pedro (6), and Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko (6) have hit the target more times than the ex-Lille lad.