Arsenal

Arsenal vs Napoli

, KO: 20:00 Apr 11, 2019, Emirates Stadium
Napoli

ARSENAL'S quest for Europa League glory almost came a cropper in the last round when they had to bounce back from a 3-1 first-leg loss to see off French side Rennes.

I tipped the Gunners to complete that second-leg salvage operation, mainly because they had been by far the better team in France before a red card saw them collapse.

But Napoli are a massive step up in class from Rennes and there will be no way back for Unai Emery's side unless they keep a full complement of players on the park for both legs.

I've fancied Carlo Ancelotti's side to win the Europa League ever since they were unlucky to be knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.

Had Alisson not made a fine late save, it could be Napoli on the verge of a place in the last four of Europe's top club competition instead of the Reds.

But they have landed in the consolation cup and have made pretty serene progress thus far, seeing of Zurich and Salzburg to reach the last eight.

I tipped Napoli to be too hot for last year's semi-finalists Salzburg in Italy and that's how it turned out, with Ancelotti's side coasting to a 3-0 win.

If you look at the scoreline in the return leg, a 3-1 win for the Austrians, it seems like Napoli were made to sweat. But Ancelotti's side got an early away goal that night and took their foot off the gas, knowing Salzburg would need five to knock them out.

Napoli were also without their two starting centre-backs, Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic, and it wasn't until the last minute that they conceded their third of the night so it was a pretty straightforward game for the Italians.

Napoli's results have been poor in Serie A of late, losing at Empoli then drawing at home to Genoa in their last two games but there are also mitigating circumstances for that.

With Juventus out of sight at the top and a Champions League slot in the bag, there's nothing for Napoli to play for in Serie A. That means it's all about Europe as they bid to win their first European trophy since the glory days of Diego Maradona and Careca when they lifted the 1989 UEFA Cup.

Arsenal, on the other hand, are in a four-way scrap with Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United for a Champions League place in the Premier League.

It's mentally draining and I think that will be a factor in this tie. Napoli are just 8/11 to qualify with most firms, with Arsenal 11/8, but I would still take a bite at that poor price as the odds will get even worse if the Italians get a good score in the first leg.

I don't think Ancelotti's men will lose at the Emirates so try Napoli in the draw no bet market at 65/50 with Marathonbet. Both teams to score should also come up but the odds are pretty dismal at just 8/13 with Bet365.

Granit Xhaka and Laurent Koscielny missed the weekend loss to Everton and it will be a big blow if they don't recover in time to play here as their defensive qualities will be needed. Napoli will be much stronger at the back than they were in Salzburg as Koulibaly returns from suspension along with Maksimovic

Napoli livewire Lorenzo Insigne came off the bench in their weekend loss and could be fit enough to start here. But Ancelotti faces a dilemma to play either Insigne, Arkadiuz Milik or Dries Mertens up front. Belgian Mertens looks the best shout for an anytime scorer option at  11/5 with Ladbrokes.

I still don't understand why Emery leaves his best striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang, on the bench for so many games. He paid a price for not starting him at Everton and the striker should surely return for this one so try backing him at 7/5 in the anytime scorer market.

This match between Arsenal and Napoli will be played on Apr 11, 2019 and kick off at 20:00

Arsenal vs Napoli Betting Tips & Predictions
Napoli draw no bet
65/50
Marathonbet
Dries Mertens anytime scorer
11/5
Ladbrokes
Aubayemang anytime scorer
7/5
Ladbrokes

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