Manchester City v Napoli Betting Preview
Manchester City: League Position: 2nd, League Form: WWWW
The dog days are over at Manchester City. Not only have they arrived on the major international club tournament, the holy grail of the Champions League, they seem to have abandoned the desperate desire to defend at all costs, the 1-0 victories a thing of the past. 15 goals in their opening four Premier League fixtures, beautiful passing football, even more big names in Nasri and Aguero, and now Dzeko has found his scoring boots they look a force.
And now for the big test. As close to a group of death as they could have picked, Mancini will take solace in starting in front of their own fans. Napoli, this week’s opponents, Bayern Munich and Villarreal join Manchester City in Group A, and it’s clear the blue side of Manchester will have proven it’s presence is deserved if they can qualify for the knockout stages.
However, in the form they are in, with the players they have got, and the confidence they carry, it’s hard to see many sides stopping them. Proven Champions League players mixed with proven Premier League stars and a manager with experience make for a good recipe. Nasri, Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko, Yaya Toure, David Silva and even ‘keeper Joe Hart will say this is where they belong, and now we’ll see.
Napoli: League Position: 2nd, League Form: W
Just like their opponents, Napoli are also new to the competition in its modern format, although they did participate in the 1987/88 and 1990/91 Champions’ Cups. They also fell at the last 16 stage of the 2010/11, and thus have similar European experience as a club. The difference is that they are inexperienced in Champions League football as players. Finishing 3rd last season in Serie A is a huge achievement, and they established themselves at home again. With their Europa League run last year they have also shown they can balance domestic and European pursuits.
The heart of their team is classy playmaker Marek Hamsik, who will control the pace of the midfield if allowed space and time. He supports an exciting array of attacking talent. Both Ezequeil Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani have been linked with big money moves to England, and to Manchester City, and have pace, skill and potential in abundance. New loan signing Goran Pandev is also full of talent, and in many ways this Napoli side will surprise many who expect slow, methodical, and in many ways traditional Italian play. The attacking players will interchange positions with ease, play attractive football and test their opponent’s backline. An opening day 3-1 away win over Cesena shows they will attack with intent, even on the road.
Match Prediction: Manchester City WIN – 1.4 Betfred
As good a side as Napoli have become, and even as much in common as they have (first Champions League appearances, last 16 of last season’s Europa League, third place in domestic league) there is still a massive gulf between these sides. Manchester City’s money has enabled them to build a world class squad, let alone just a first XI, filled with unbelievable talent. And whilst last year they seemed to hold much in reserve, this year they look like an attacking force that will dominate any weaknesses.
15 goals in four Premier League games. Aguero and Dzeko both in goalscoring form, supported by Nasri and Silva. It is not just personnel that has made this City side exciting. Full backs are flying forward, there is no reliance on Tevez, there is free-flowing football. Mancini may also feel that with such a tight group they must win at home, they can be reserved on the road but they cannot throw away points in front of their own fans. This, on top of their remarkable form, makes City the team to be with. Napoli are by no means a poor side, but the wave of optimism is hard to fight against. And with Dzeko looking a world class front man, rested at the weekend too, back him to score first.
Over/Under: Over 2.5 goals – 1.8 Stan James
First Goalscorer: Edin Dzeko – 5.5 William Hill
Correct Score: 3-1 Man City Win – 13.00 Sky Bet
Article by Chris Wilkerson
*Click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches