THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE continues on Wednesday night. Here Ben Levene (BenLevene96) picks out his favourite fancy from the match-up between Napoli and Manchester City.
Napoli v Manchester City | Wednesday 1st November 2017, 19:45 | BT Sport
Two of the most highly-rated sides around meet this Wednesday in what looks to be one of the ties of the gameweek.
Before we go much further, we need to acknowledge the fact that Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has made it clear that the league is a priority for Napoli although has since gone on record saying the Champions League certainly isn’t a ‘distraction’.
Napoli reaping their rewards
Napoli top Serie A and are unbeaten, in what looks to be one of the most exciting title races across Europe this season. The Partenopei have enjoyed steady progression in the two years under Sarri, and after catching the eye last campaign, are finally starting to reap the rewards for their impressive style.
They are a constant threat. With a transformed Dries Mertens spearheading the attack alongside Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon, Napoli have scored three or more goals in five of their six home matches this season.
They’re comfortable playing out from the back and suffocate opponents high-up the pitch as they keep them penned in via their high press.
Manchester City taking things to the next level
Pep Guardiola and Manchester City have taken things to another level this season. Admittedly, City ran rampant in the early stages of the campaign last time around, but things seem different this time. They look improved defensively.
Like Napoli, teams struggle to pose a threat as they simply don’t have the ball to do so. As was pointed out on Monday Night Football by Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, beyond the obvious quality shown by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, the extent of their relentless attacking style can be observed through the numbers posted by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
The pair are averaging around a goal every 50 minutes in the league. Sane already has six goals in all competitions this season, while Sterling has nine.
The betting angles
Both sides look constant goal threats and the battle may well be won by the side who earns the right to control the game. You could make a case that there is a touch of value about City in the Draw No Bet market but instead goals look the way to go.
Each of Napoli’s Champions League games this season have seen Over 2.5 Goals, as have two of City’s three. The reverse fixture saw two goals and a missed penalty in the first-half. With the attacking quality on show, Over 1.5 First Half Goals looks too big at 27/20 (Coral).
Referee Felix Brych awarded four or more bookings in all six European games he officiated last season. Each of Napoli’s three Champions League games this season have had five or more cards shown, while two of City’s three have seen the same feat achieved.
Stan James are 4/6 for four or more bookings to be shown in what should be an all action fixture.
Napoli v Manchester City – Over 1.5 First Half Goals (27/20 Coral)
Napoli v Manchester City – Over 3.5 Bookings (4/6 Stan James)