THE EUROPA LEAGUE quarter-finals gets underway on Thursday night as Arsenal welcome Napoli to The Emirates. Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) shares his betting thoughts.
Arsenal v Napoli | Thursday April March 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
Arsenal chucked in another abysmal performance on the road on Sunday when going down at Everton without a whimper. The Gunners remain the only Premier League side yet to keep their sheets clean on their travels as Unai Emery’s troops struggle to find their best form when outside of the Emirates.
Fortunately, Arsenal have the opportunity to bounce back on Thursday night when welcoming Napoli to the capital for what should be an interesting and exciting watch for neutrals. And Gunners supporters should be confident the hosts can pick up a positive first leg result in this Europa League quarter-final showdown.
On Premier League duty, Arsenal have W14-D2-L0 here since the opening weekend in Emery’s first fixture in the dugout. The North Londoners have triumphed in 13 of their most recent 15 outings at the Emirates across all competitions, and beaten the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United in that sample too.
Looking purely from a Europa League prospective, Arsenal also enjoy a strong return when welcoming continental foes to the Emirates. Indeed, since last March the Gunners have bagged W6-D2-L0 whilst scoring at least three times in five of those six triumphs.
Napoli’s away-day concerns
Like their hosts, Napoli have tended to produce their strongest suit in their intimidating Stadio San Paolo backyard. Indeed, the Partenopei have been less convincing outside of Naples, as their recent W4-D3-L5 road record will testify, with Liverpool, Inter Milan, AC Milan and RB Salzburg all taking top honours when hosting Carlo Ancelotti’s charges.
Serie A sides have produced only three Europa League semi-finalists over the past 10 campaigns and Napoli arrive in London on the back of two concerning displays. On Sunday, the Partenopei were held by Genoa despite playing against 10 men for over 30 minutes, and that followed hot on the heels of a laboured 1-1 draw with relegation-haunted Empoli.
The visitors have W4-D3-L3 away at sides in 11th and above domestically, been beaten in all three league outings against Juventus and Inter, whilst Italian clubs are now just W3-D5-L10 when travelling to English shores in Europe’s second-tier tournament since 2001/02, suggesting there’s scope to oppose the Naples outfit on Thursday night.
However, to bolster the odds to odds-against quotes, I’m going to chuck in Both Teams To Score alongside Arsenal in the Double Chance market for a 6/5 play at Bet365. BTTS has banked in each of Napoli’s past six encounters, as well as five of their most recent six away. The visitors have also notched in 18 of their last 22 away trips in Europe.
Arsenal v Napoli – Arsenal double chance and Both Teams To Score (6/5 Bet365)