Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Prediction: Napoli vs Arsenal

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 17 Apr 2019

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Verdict: Napoli win.

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

Napoli welcome Arsenal to the Sao Paolo stadium for the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal clash on Thursday evening. The visitors will be bringing a 2-0 advantage from the first leg with them.

Napoli

Napoli may have allowed Serie A leaders and defending champions Juventus to get away from them in the league far more easily this time around when compared to last season, but they have played some fantastic football both domestically and in Europe since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti to the helm. They were eliminated from a very strong Champions League group with Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool finishing above them after a 1-0 defeat at Anfield in the last round, but even against such opposition they played at a formidable level.

Since dropping to Europe’s second-tier tournament, they dispatched Zurich and Salzburg in the two rounds preceding this one, and they will perceive the situation where they find themselves two goals down after the first leg against Arsenal as manageable.

Team News

Centre-back Raul Albiol and midfielder Amadou Diawara are set to miss this clash. They haven’t featured since January and March, respectively, due to injury. Ancelotti has no other absentees.

Arsenal

Arsenal are going through a tough transition this season, with manager Unai Emery stepping into the shoes of the legendary Arsene Wenger last summer and trying to build a team according to his own style and plans. Though their performances haven’t exactly been impressive lately, they have managed to produce desired results and having played 33 Premier League games, they find themselves in fourth place. They consider finishing within the top four a top priority for the season, though winning the Europa League also opens the door to next season’s Champions League.

The Gunners won their group by finishing above Sporting Lisbon, Vorskla Poltava and Qarabag FK, and they got past BATE Borisov and Rennes to get to the quarterfinals.

Team News

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has returned on Monday in their league game away to Watford, and just in time too with Lucas Torreira suffering a groin injury. The Uruguay international is a doubt for the Napoli clash. With Matteo Guendouzi also in the mix, Emery may opt not take risks with Torreira. Striker Alexandre Lacazette was rested on Monday, and that makes him almost certainly a starter, though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may start on the bench given the score form the first leg.

Conclusion

Probably the most important thing to take into consideration when trying to figure this one in advance is the fact that both these teams tend to play a lot better at home, which puts Napoli in a favored position. They will certainly be motivated and look to hit hard from the start, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to get them over the line and into the semifinals.

Verdict: Napoli win.

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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