High-flying rivals should produce feast of goals
No incentive for City or Napoli to sit back
BT Sport 3, 7.45pm Wednesday
A missed penalty from Dries Mertens was all that stopped these sides totting up four goals in Manchester two weeks ago and a bet on over 3.5 at 5-4 looks eminently reasonable.
Napoli, with just three points from their opening three games, need to win this tie or qualification for the last 16 could well be out of their hands. City are a point away from going through, but a Pep Guardiola team playing for a point? Quite simply, no chance.
The first match was a masterclass in crowd-pleasing. City pinged the lids spectacularly and were two up inside 14 minutes through Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus. They should have been out of sight by half-time only for Napoli to hit back brilliantly and play their part in a thrilling second half.
There was a combined 11 chances on target, countless more off, and there seems no reason to believe they won’t reproduce their attacking instincts in Naples.
Throw in the fact that there’s still a vulnerability about City at the back - and the same is also true of Napoli - and it also adds weight to the contention that we are in for plenty of goals.
Napoli average a shade under three goals per game domestically, are unbeaten in the league since February and top Serie A. City average 3.5 goals domestically, are unbeaten in the league since April and top the Premier League.
These two teams are at the peak of their powers and that augurs well for a match which will go some way to determining Group F’s final appearance.
If there’s to be a winner of a game which should feature goals, City would still just about get the nod in an open betting heat.
Napoli are formidable at home with just two defeats in their last 23 European matches in front of their own fans. And even though many commentators believe that a first scudetto since 1990 bears greater significance than landing the Champions League, there was scant evidence at the Etihad that the players were giving less than their all.
But City will test them like no other side they’ve played this season. Maurizio Sarri’s men have yet to keep a clean sheet in their three group games and have been breached by both Genoa and Sassuolo in their last two Serie A games. City, meanwhile, have scored 47 goals in 15 games this season and however Pep Guardiola perms his frontline, the outcome always seems to be goals.
Odds of 5-11 about both teams scoring tells you everything.
Over 3.5 goals
1pt 5-4 Coral, Hills, Ladbrokes
Striker Arkadiusz Milik is injured.
Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy remain sidelined.
City’s last 11 Champions League ties have produced 43 goals.
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