Best Odds: 13/5
The UEFA Europa League returns this week for the final time in the group stage with a parade of clubs attempting to push their way through to the knockout stage of the competition. There’s a whole lot riding on what goes down on Thursday and one fixture above all else that we’re particularly looking forward to will see Napoli go face to face with Leicester City in a battle between two of the pre-season favourites.
The problem for Napoli thus far seems to be that they’ve been putting too much of their focus on the Serie A title race. Plus, for whatever reason, the strong defensive showing they’ve put out in the league – with just 12 goals conceded in 16 games – hasn’t translated over to the Europa. If they continue to follow this erratic pattern, then domestic football is all they’ll have to focus on when the dust settles.
Ruiz, Insigne and Manolas are all viewed as fitness concerns heading into the Naples encounter. Elsewhere, Anguissa, Osimhen, Koulibaly and Ghoulam will all serve as big absences.
Brendan Rodgers has come under heavy fire for some of Leicester’s results in the Premier League this season and rightly so. Their fanbase has started to expect greater things from the club after near misses with Champions League qualification in the last couple of years, and if they aren’t able to progress to the round of 32 then you could make an argument for Rodgers being given his marching orders.
Schmeichel, Tielemans and Bertrand are fitness doubts heading into this clash with Fofana, Pereira and Justin all still being on the shelf – although the latter is believed to be close to a return.
Factors to Consider
- The Group C standings are as follows: Leicester 8 pts, Spartak 7 pts, Napoli 7 pts, Legia 6 pts.
- Napoli have won one, drawn two and lost three of their last six games.
- Leicester have won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six games.
- Napoli have scored 12 goals and conceded 11 in their last six games.
- Leicester have scored 11 goals and conceded 11 in their last six games.
We’re just waiting for an all-out war to explode between these two sides in the reverse fixture after their initial game back in September ended 2-2. Napoli are the ones who will be really chasing the game but if they leave themselves vulnerable at the back, the Foxes will pounce. With these two scoring 23 and conceding 22 between them across their last 12 combined games, we think another 2-2 draw has some potential.
Best Odds: 13/5
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