Italian club Napoli was eliminated by Spain’s Villarreal in the Europa League last year and will be looking for payback when the two sides meet again on Sept. 27th at the Stadio San Paolo in Italy in a Group A champions League match.
Napoli is on a hot streak at home at the moment and is undefeated in their past eight European games in Naples. The drew their first game of the Champions League this year in a 1-1 away draw against Manchester City of the English Premier League.
Villarreal lost their first Champions League contest by a 2-0 score to Bayern Munich of Germany at home. It was their worst home loss in a UEFA game. The last time they played Napoli was in February. They drew 0-0 in the first leg of their encounter in Italy and then fell behind 1-0 in the second leg before coming back to win the match 2-1.
This is Napoli’s first home European Cup/Champions League game since back in 1990. They’re undefeated at the Stadio San Paolo in the competition with a win and two draws. They haven’t lost at home in any European game since being beaten 1-0 by Eintracht Frankfurt in 1994 in the UEFA Cup. They didn’t even let in a goal last season in five Europa League matches.
Villarreal won four out of eight away games in the Europa League last season and made it to the semi-finals. In their previous Champions League campaigns they drew four out of six away matches and lost just once. In six games in Italy, they’ve drawn two and lost four overall. Villarreal forward Marco Ruben will likely miss the game as he’s out with a broken toe.
Villarreal has gotten off to a slow start this season with just one win in their first five league games in Spain as well as the loss to Bayern in the Champions League.
Napoli will like use a trio of attackers in Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, and Marek Hamsik, but right-back Christian Maggio could miss the game due to a muscle problem. The Italian side drew 0-0 on the weekend and sit in fourth place in Serie A. They have seven points in their first four league games.
This is Napoli’s first home game in the Champions League in 20 years and judging by the form of both clubs they should win this game, but probably just by one goal.
Sportsbook William Hill has the odds of a Napoli win at 8/11 and a Villarreal victory at 4/1. A draw is listed at 5/2.