Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho, left, challenges for the ball with Napoli’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo during the Europa League Group C soccer match between Leicester City and Napoli at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Thursday, Sept.16, 2021. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
- Napoli host Leicester City in the Europa League’s final Group Stage matchday on Thursday, December 9th, at 12:45 pm ET
- In Group C, no team has qualified officially for the knockout rounds so while Leicester City have a point advantage at the top of the table, a win for Napoli could send them through
- Get the odds, our analysis, and betting prediction below
The Europa League’s sixth and final matchday kicks off on Thursday with Napoli vs Leicester City at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. The highlight match in Group C will ultimately decide who makes it through to the knockout and playoff rounds.
Currently, as things stand, a win for Leicester City will take them directly through to the knockout rounds. If the Foxes fail to win or draw, they still have a chance to progress as long as the Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw game goes in their favor.
However, Napoli’s future is not fully in their hands. The only way Napoli can advance directly would be through a victory against Leicester and a Spartak loss. Additionally, Napoli has very good odds to finish in the second-place spot as well, given that they are level on points with Spartak.
Napoli vs Leicester City Odds
|Napoli vs Leicester City||NAP -0.5 (+114) | LEI +0.5 (-139)||NAP +115 | LEI +215 | DRAW +265||Ov 2.5 (-141) | Un 2.5 (+114)|
Odds as of Dec 7th at Barstool Sportsbook
Gli Azzurri’s Injury List to Play its Part on Thursday
Next, what is peculiar about this match is that on paper it looks like a fantastic affair. However, recently both of these teams have been at sixes and sevens all over the pitch. Napoli have only won one match in six across all competitions and have a slew of injuries to deal with.
While the blow of losing Victor Osimhen hurt Napoli enough, they now have to deal with several more absences. In fact, against Leicester City, Luciano Spalletti will be without Andre Zambo Anguissa, Kalidou Koulibaly, Lorenzo Insigne, Fabian Ruiz, Stanislav Lobotka, and Kostas Manolas.
Fabian Ruiz ❌
Emergenza totale per il Napoli in vista del Leicester 🔵https://t.co/kTSAhu4IIM
— GOAL Italia (@GoalItalia) December 6, 2021
Gli Azzurri were able to slip by Lazio a couple of weeks ago on the remembrance of Diego Maradona’s passing. Dries Mertens played as Napoli’s false nine between Insigne and Hirving Lozano and it worked perfectly.
But, the additional injury to Insigne complicates things. Insigne and Osimhen combine for 1.6 expected goals plus expected assists per 90 minutes. Simply put, they are creators for this Napoli squad. Eljif Elmas and Matteo Politano just do not have the same level of ability. Again, if you remember the reverse fixture, which was a 2-2 draw at the KP Stadium, Osimhen was the one who clawed Napoli out from a two-goal deficit.
📌 Hard at work with Leicester on the horizon
— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) December 7, 2021
Leicester Look to Finish First for Second Year Running
Conversely, it would be unfair to emphasize Napoli’s poor form without discussing Leicester’s dreadful start to the year. The Foxes find themselves in 11th place in the Premier League table as they have obviously struggled with the pressure of competing on two fronts.
— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 7, 2021
Moreover, since the end of October Leicester have only managed to win two games from eight in all competitions. Both of those victories were two-goal wins against Warsaw and Watford. Against any team with a somewhat average offense, Leicester struggle. Their only somewhat impressive victory this season came against a wounded Manchester United side.
Napoli vs Leicester City Europa League Statistics
|2.40||Goals per game||2.00|
|2.64||Expected goals per game||1.84|
|1.60||Goals allowed per game||1.60|
|1.10||Expected goals allowed per game||1.14|
|88.4%||Passing Accuracy %||86.4%|
|21.6||Shots per game||14.0|
In the first match against Napoli, Leicester only managed 46% possession while mustering up seven total shots and two corner kicks. Napoli were the far superior side, peppering Kasper Schmeichel with 22 shots and 8 corner kicks on the day.
Nonetheless, this match is not all bad news for Leicester City. Despite, coming off a draw to Southampton and a loss to Aston Villa, they could welcome back Youri Tielemans into the squad on Thursday. Additionally, I would expect Jamie Vardy to come back into the starting eleven after a well-deserved rest at the weekend. If Leicester do manage to win this game, it will be their second consecutive year atop their Europa League group.
Napoli vs Leicester City Best Bet
Overall, the best bet in this match is the Leicester City draw no bet with odds of +135. This bet has tremendous value, and I cannot state enough how much Napoli’s injuries will impact them. Leicester still have a lot to play for on the final day and I have a hard time seeing them lose in Naples.
Pick: Leicester City Draw no bet (+135)
Josh Ricker is a freelance sports journalist, currently attending the University of Southern Maine (Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and Marketing). He has recently interned with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, and his work has been featured on Fansided, as well as now here on SBD.