Napoli vs Manchester City preview, betting tips and prediction: City face toughest European test yet in Italian cauldron
Manchester City to win with Leroy Sane scoring first @ 9/2 with Paddy Power
Manchester City to win 2-1 @ 12/5 with Paddy Power
Score draw @ 3/1 with Paddy Power
The excitement was palpable when Manchester City met Napoli at the Etihad Stadium for their last Champions League clash. Neither were amongst the pre-tournament favourites to win it, but the fact the Italians netted a staggering 94 goals in Serie A last season and City are averaging over three per game in the Premier League this promised a pulsating affair. That is exactly what the viewers got.
City raced into a two-goal lead before Dries Mertens missed a penalty for Napoli before Amadou Diawara took their second chance from the spot with acute precision. It could have been more for the visitors, and they do need a win after losing to Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg, but with their ferocious support behind them at the Stadio San Paolo, they will be more than confident of beating the English side who have recently begun shipping goals at a relatively big rate compared to previous games. Games against Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion yielded ten goals for Pep Guardiola’s men, but also saw them concede four. There are areas at the back to exploit for Napoli, and with Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon up front, they are more than capable of taking advantage, especially when supplied by Marek Hamsik from midfield.
A report from the weekend win over West Brom described eventual match winner Fernandinho as Guardiola’s heartbeat on the pitch. With Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero to call upon, the Brazilian is not usually required to be decisive in attack. He has been excellent for City at the base of their midfield and will be crucial if Napoli aren’t to run wild in front of their own fans.
In a game such as this, backing both teams to score and perhaps even over 2.5 goals is a sensible option. Napoli cannot be ruled out of a victory, and as already mentioned, they badly need one. They are 11/4 with BTTS and 12/5 with over 2.5, but overall, City have been solid in defence of late and that should make a score draw Napoli’s best hope on Wednesday night. Leroy Sane opened the scoring at the Hawthorns and is well priced to do so again in an away win at 9/2. A correct score of 2-1 City is our final tip at 12/5; all odds here are with Paddy Power.
Key battle: Marek Hamsik vs Fernandinho
This match up has already been mentioned but it really is crucial; Napoli play with such a high press and their attack is so dynamic that they could get a lot of joy coming up against the high line of City. They will thrive when given service, and it is Fernandinho’s job to make sure that doesn’t come from the centre of the pitch, particularly from Slovakian Hamsik.
The Brazilian has been protecting the back four with little credit all season, but that will change if he can help his side make it four wins from four in the Champions League this season in Naples.