Arsenal travel to Naples on Thursday as they look to seal their place in the next round of The Europa League after a solid 2-0 home win in the reverse fixture.
A mountain to climb
Napoli had chances in their trip to London. Lorenzo Insigne squandered a guilt edge opportunity to grab a vital away goal but his effort flew over the bar much to the despair of his onlooking team mates. A goal at The Emirates would’ve set this up as a very different proposition but now Napoli have a real task at hand to keep their Europa League hopes alive.
It’s a very similar story to that of the first leg, but in reversal. When the Italians travelled to Arsenal; The Gunners had won nine in a row on home soil. Although Napoli’s home record isn’t quite in that shape, they have only tasted defeat once at the San Paolo stadium domestically this campaign. They’ve hit 34 goals in their 16 home matches and have only suffered 12. The average of at least two a game gives them a chance, especially when you factor in Arsenal’s horrendous away form. Their win at Watford on Monday night was only their sixth away from home this season and their first clean sheet on the road since Unai Emery took over. Even then they were lucky to escape Vicarage Road unscathed despite Watford being down to 10 men early on. Prior to their win on Monday Arsenal had just one win in their last seven away games domestically and that’s not including embarrassing European losses to Rennes and Bate Borisov. These factors contribute to The Gunners price of 4.5 to win the match in 90 minutes. However on the basis of their two goal advantage they’re at just 1.25 to qualify.
Napoli got their first win in four at the weekend as they beat Serie A’s bottom side Chievo. Prior to that it’s been a rough ride for Carlo Ancelotti’s side and the heat has been building on their illustrious manager, especially with The Partenopei sitting 17 points behind Juventus in the league.
On average this season Arsenal have seen 3.21 goals per game, which is a number only bettered by Manchester City and Manchester United. They’ve actually seen an average of 3.44 goals in their away games this campaign, largely due to their vulnerable defence and I can see that coming in to play again here. Over 2.5 goals makes a lot of sense here, it’s available at a price of 1.5 and is likely to be a safe choice. Napoli have to attack and with their plethora of forward talent through the likes of Mertens, Milik, Insigne and Callejon they have more than enough firepower to make this game an uncomfortable trip for The Gunners. This season there has been an average of just under three goals per game in Napoli’s home matches so this meeting should really provide us with some end to end action.
There’s plenty of options for a goal scorer bet with such a smorgasbord of attacking talent. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang catches my eye at 2.8 anytime, the Gabonese forward is Arsenal’s top scorer both domestically and in Europe this season and I can see Arsenal making an effort to grab themselves an away goal which could potentially put the tie beyond the reach of the Italians.
With this in mind, both teams to score at 1.6 would be my number one choice, I highly doubt Arsenal will manage back to back clean sheets after failing to get just one before their meeting with Watford.
Both teams to score @ 1.6
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.5
Napoli draw no bet @ 1.25