Marseille vs Napoli

October 21, 2013
By: Nemanja Lazarevic

With the loser of the tie likely to face a very difficult task in their attempt to reach the knockout stages, there will be a lot at stake when Marseille and Napoli square off at Stade Velodrome. The Azzurri have the psychological advantage having already picked up three points, but OM will not surrender without a fight.

Three defeats in a row

It is fair to say that Marseille have progressed a great deal under Elie Baup having previously largely struggled when Didier Deschamps had been at the helm, but in spite of the bright start, this season has not been going according to plan. OM have won just two of last nine fixtures in all competitions, thus slipping to fifth in the league standings, while still searching for their first points in Champions League group stage. And while attacking problems continue to mount, the team are no longer a force to be reckoned at the back, having conceded six goals in last three matches. Considering that Marseille go into the Napoli clash on the back of defeats to Borussia, PSG and Nice, it is perfectly clear the players are low on confidence at the moment. Elie Baup’s side certainly have enough quality to match the Azzurri at their Stade Velodrome, but they obviously cannot be expected to produce a high-quality performance now that they are going through a very rough patch.

With Dimitri Payet back from domestic suspension, boss Elie Baup will have the courtesy of choosing from a fully fit squad.

Must-win game for Napoli

Napoli chiefs made a right decision to sell star striker Edinson Cavani this summer as that allowed them to seriously reinforce the squad ahead of what could be a breakthrough season for the Azzurri. Experienced boss Rafael Benitez succeeded in quickly integrating the new players and his side in turn impressed in the opening exchanges. Napoli kicked off the season with five straight victories, defeating Borussia Dortmund in the process, but they have since suffered several slip-ups. And while a defeat to red-hot Arsenal cannot be considered such a bad result, the first defeat of the Serie A campaign in weekend’s match against Roma was clearly the result of a serious injury crisis. Napoli now need to return to winning ways if they are to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive, and they will have key attacker Gonzalo Higuain back to the side after recovering from injury. With extremely important full-back Christian Maggio also returning into action, the Azzurri look they can record a much needed victory at Stade Velodrome.

Defenders Camilo Zuniga and Miguel Britos are out injured, but Gonzalo Higuain will be recalled to the starting line-up.


With the stakes extremely high, chances are we will see a nervy affair that is unlikely to produce too many goals. However, given that Marseille are completely out of form, whereas Napoli are superior in both quality and experience, I am tempted to back the Azzurri here.

Top pick: Napoli Draw no bet   1.75 (3/4) @ BetVictor

Alternative pick 1: Away win   2.40 (7/5) @ Sportingbet

Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals   1.85 (17/20) @ Betfair

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