Leicester vs Napoli | Thursday 16th September 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
The favourites for this year’s edition of the UEFA Europa League, Napoli, travel to the UK to face Leicester on the opening night of group stage action.
The Azzurri have endured troubled times in England in their history, though, failing to win on any of their previous 10 visits, losing 80% of these ties.
Luciano Spaletto’s men travel to the King Power starting their Serie A campaign with a 100% record, scoring twice in each game, and defeating Juventus last time out.
The mood amongst the campaign will be filled with confidence and belief as they travel to Leicester, who have started the season very poorly for their high standards set under Brendan Rogers.
Whilst on paper two wins from four is not too bad, data suggests The Foxes did not deserve to win either game they won, and they were outshot 25-6 against City last weekend.
Napoli have adapted well to a very attacking style so far, having 13+ shots in 3/3 of their matches, and outshooting opponents 51-22 thus far.
Leicester look too short to get involved with at 11/10 and for that reason I think it’s worth avoiding the outright and heading to the cards market.
The King Power will be rocking with European football returning to the East Midlands once again.
I fancy Both Teams Over 1 Card at 5/4 with Bet365 and that is largely down to the referee appointment: Tiago Martins of Portugal. The whistle-blower is a card fanatic on European nights, averaging 5.91 cards across his 12 Europa League ties.
The 41-year-old is fairly new to the UEFA scene, starting in just 2017/18 so sample sizes are low. He has shown both sides a card in 11/12 contests, with the holy Both Teams Over 1 Card copping in 9/12 (75%) of games. 92% of these contests have featured 5 or more cautions, with half of the 12 featuring 6+ cards.
All his last 6 ties in the EL have seen this bet win. He is good for red cards too, 5 shown in the 12 games. Martins has flashed 60 red cards in 137 career appearances, a whopping 0.43 red cards per-game. He once showed four red cards in one Portuguese Liga tussle, and in 2019/20 flashed 16 reds in 23.
Given how big an event this is for Leicester as not only a team but also a city, I think it could be keenly fought and aggressive.
Last season, without fans, Leicester’s opponents in the Europa League group stage saw 2+ cards on 5/6 occasions. In Napoli’s Europa League games, this bet landed in 50% (4/8).
Other bookies go as low as 5/6 for this bet, so roll on the Tiago Martins card show.
Leicester vs Napoli – Both Teams Over 1 Card (5/4 Bet365)