Napoli vs FC SalzburgUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Nov 5, 2019, San Paolo
CARLO Ancelotti managed to come up with a plan to thwart free-scoring Salzburg when Napoli won 3-2 in Austria on matchday three.
By doing so the Partenopei are now in pole position to qualify from Group E where they lead the way on seven points and should Napoli put Salzburg to the sword once again then the Serie A side will seal their place in the knockout phase with two games to spare.
Yet, despite recording impressive Champions League wins against both Salzburg and the reigning European champions Liverpool, Napoli have made a stuttering start to their domestic campaign .
Ancelottti has not seen his side win a game since triumphing in Salzburg – Napoli have since been held by both SPAL and Atalanta before being on the wrong end of a 2-1 reverse against Roma on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Salzburg's first home defeat in four years at the hands of Napoli has not derailed the Red Bulls as they continue to soar on home soil where they have romped to victory in their last three games whilst racking up 11 goals in the process.
Therefore, Jesse Marsch's goal-getters will head to Naples high in confidence and the 16/5 (Bet 365) on offer for an away win will be sure to tempt plenty of punters, as will a share of the spoils which pays 14/5 (Betway)
Napoli crashed out of the Champions League in the group-stages last season and an early exit this time around will be avoided should they triumph in this tussle – and the home team are priced at 10/11 (SportNation) to do just that.
Ancelloti and Co will know fine well that they will have their work cut out when they come up against the attack-minded Austrians and their young hotshot Erling Haaland who has banged in 22 goals 16 appearances this season – two of that towering total came against Napoli two weeks ago.
The Norwegian wonderkid looks destined for big things and he currently sits top of the Champions League goal-scoring charts after smashing in six goals in three games and Haaland could be worth backing at 5/4 (UniBet) to add to that tally against a Napoli side who have conceded seven goals in their last four matches.
However, the Austrian champions attacking and intense style of play can often leave them exposed defensively – Salzburg have shipped nine goals in their three Group E outings thus far – and that doesn't bode well for a backline who are set to come up against the likes of Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne- both of whom struck against Salzburg last time out,
There is no value in backing both teams to score or over 2.5 match goals – both of which are a general 1/3 with most firms, however, in a game that should deliver goals, an alternative angle that appeals is backing Napoli to score in both halves at 6/5 (William Hill)
Salzburg have conceded in both halves of every group game they have played so far and I fancy that trend to continue in southern Italy.
Yet, Napoli home games in this competition tend to be cagey and low scoring affairs, however, given the visitors vibrant brand of football I suspect there will no shortage of goalmouth action in the San Paolo on Tuesday night.
The home side could take a huge stride towards qualification by winning and although the 10/11 (SportNation) on offer for a Napoli win here is tempting, the hosts have been hit and miss this season and fearless FC Salzburg made the net bulge on three occasions at world-renowned footballing fortress Anfield on their last European escapade.
However, Napoli at home, with the astute Ancelotti at the helm and their superior quality should take something from this showdown and I'm therefore going to combine Napoli on the double chance and over 2.5 match goals at 4/5 (Bet 365) in what should be another enthralling encounter involving the entertaining Austrians.
This UEFA Champions League match between Napoli and FC Salzburg will be played on Nov 5, 2019 and kick off at 20:00