Manchester City vs Napoli preview, betting tips and prediction: City could edge high-scoring affair
Manchester City to win and BTTS @ 6/4 with Betfair
Manchester City to win and Leroy Sane to score first @ 6/1 with Betfair
Draw and over 2.5 goals @ 15/2 with Betfair
Even though Barcelona were drawn against Juventus and PSG with Bayern Munich in this season’s Champions League draw, it was the prospect of Manchester City facing Napoli that got football purists excited. Pep Guardiola’s side have scored 29 Premier League goals in just eight games this season and five in two European games. Napoli, coached by Maurizio Sarri, proved themselves as one of the best attacking sides in Europe, scoring 94 goals in Serie A last season. They’ve even rivalled City domestically this season, with 26 goals, winning all eight of their domestic games.
Such form makes their opening Champions League defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk so surprising. The Ukrainians were able to shackle Napoli, but that is unlikely to be the case at the Etihad Stadium, because the hosts will look to attack more. City have only conceded two goals, proving they can keep the ball out of their net much better than many give them credit for. Chelsea played into their hands at Stamford Bridge recently, and in terms of attacking quality, the Italians are likely to be their biggest test to date.
In Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, Napoli have such dynamism in attack; they will be tough to play against because the false nine system allows them to pull defenders out of position. Playing a high line is a genuine risk and strengthens the possibility of a high scoring game. A draw with over 2.5 goals is well priced at 15/2 with Betfair.
But City have been in such good form that it is hard to rule them out as victors in this game. The stats point to goals, but perhaps a crucial difference between these two sides is City have more options in attack, whereas Napoli are strong with their fixed identity. Sergio Aguero may feature after injury and he could partner Gabriel Jesus, but wingers Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane have also been in amongst the goals. Both of their wincasts are worth a punt at 6/1 for Sane and 13/2 for Sterling.
Key battle: Kevin de Bruyne vs Marek Hamsik
City have been so good in defence and attack this season and de Bruyne has been a crucial player in both senses. Guardiola has deployed the Belgian in a deeper role, allowing him to get forward alongside his teammates. For the first time this season, City will meet a side who will constantly be looking to attack; Hamsik will be the link between midfield and attack for Napoli, and the pace of the wide men means he will have options in front of him and space to go with it.
He’ll also have freedom to go forward because Napoli play with two deep midfield. De Bruyne may be shackled more than he would like and that could have a real impact on the game.