15 February 2019
Napoli have a chance to respond to their disappointing Champions League elimination when they head to Letzigrund Stadion to face-off Zurich in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie.
Mainly thanks to a spectacular start of the competition (three consecutive wins), the Swiss side managed to go past the group stage in spite of suffering two defeats in the remaining three fixtures (D1, L2). Ludovic Magnin’s men usually go all out, which is why both of their previous two competitive games have produced over 3.5 goals. Apart from the competitive outings, the Stadtclub have featured in six more warm-up games in 2019, with each of them producing goals on both ends, while five ending with 3+ match goals. A potential worry for Magnin ahead of this clash could be that his players failed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last eight home meetings across all competitions, allowing over 1.5 goals per match five times in the process. In the same sequence, Zurich have failed to hit the net just once, scoring 2+ match goals on four occasions.
On the other hand, after a goalless draw with Fiorentina last the weekend, the visitors have left with virtually no chance of closing the gap on Juventus. To avoid another trophyless season, the Partenopei could, therefore, opt to go all the way towards the Europa League final (if possible). However, the Blues are not having the best of times, having secured only two triumphs in their last five games across all competitions (W2, D2, L1), failing to hit the net in all of three failures. What’s more, Carlo Ancelotti’s men are winless in their previous four competitive road meetings (D2, L2), conceding three goals while scoring zero in the process. Solid at the back but toothless in attack, Napoli have failed to provide entertainment to the neutral, as all of their last six road clashes produced under 1.5 goals (in 90 minutes of play).
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