The final round of Champions League group games is upon us and Jamie Dickenson has taken a look at the Group F clash between Napoli and Arsenal...
"Arsenal don’t need to force a win and will be confident in a hostile environment such as Napoli’s given their strong away record sturdy defence."
Napoli v Arsenal
Wednesday 11 December, 19:45 GMT
Live on Sky Sports 2
In the final round of group games in the Champions League, Arsenal travel to Napoli hoping to maintain their position at the top of Group F. The Gunners have a three-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund and Napoli and know they will progress to the knockout stages if they avoid a heavy defeat in Italy.
If Dortmund win at Marseille - which they are as short as 1.4640/85 to do - Arsenal must not lose by three goals or more to make it to the last 16. However, that appears a tall over for the hosts given Arsene Wenger's side have lost just once away from home this season (a 1-0 loss at Manchester United) and have recorded 2-1 wins at both Marseille and Dortmund in this competition.
Napoli aren't in the best form either, having lost three of their last five games and twice gave up the lead at the weekend during a 3-3 home draw against Udinese. Rafa Benitez's side are third in Serie A though and will have star striker Gonzalo Higuain available to face Arsenal after he missed the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates in October.
Goals from Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud gave Wenger's men all three points that night, and both players were again influential in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday. Ozil's opener was cancelled out by Gerard Deulefou, while Giroud nearly stole victory with a late volley that cannoned back off the bar. But Arsenal are unbeaten in six and have conceded just once since that Old Trafford loss.
Napoli 2.588/5, Arsenal 2.942/1, The Draw 3.613/5
Napoli don't look like having enough to win at the Stadio San Paolo given the visitors strong away form, but they will be stronger than their display at the Emirates suggests.
With a point seeing Arsenal top Group F, Wenger may set up his team slightly more defensive as he looks to avoid a hammering at all costs. Therefore, there looks to be value in backing the draw in this one.
While it may seem risky to plump for few goals when Napoli have been involved in several high-scoring affairs recently, Arsenal have kept six clean sheets in their last eight outings and are yet to concede more than one goal in any away match this season.
A quick glance at the odds makes it clear that favouring fewer goals is more profitable than backing many, and a cagey meeting in Naples means selecting Under 2.5 Goals at 2.3411/8 is the way to go in a congested market.
Having missed the meeting in North London through injury, it would be hardly surprising to see Higuain return to haunt the club who tried to sign him this summer.
Higuain is the Napoli's top scorer this season with 10 goals in 18 games and he will have extra motivation to find the net against Wenger's side, meaning he should not be ignored at 6.611/2 to score first.
While I don't believe this game will end a goal-fest, the strength of both attacks suggests it wont be goalless either. Having tipped a share of the spoils and under 2.5 goals, a good cash out opportunity looks to be a 1-1 draw at 8.27/1.
Arsenal don't need to force a win and will be confident in a hostile environment such as Napoli's given their strong away record and sturdy defence.
Neither side has been involved in a 0-0 this season but this match is unlikely to be too open. I'm predicting a score draw but as tensions rise towards the end of the game that would be a good time to withdraw your profits.
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