Manuel Veth –
Napoli vs Red Star Belgrade – Wednesday, November 28, 20:00GMT/21:00CET – Stadio San Paolo, Napoli, Italy
It was one of the biggest surprises of matchday 4 in the UEFA Champions League. Crvena Zvezda not only held Liverpool at home but actually managed to beat the English giants 2-0.
Crvena Zvezda may have shocked the football world with a 2-0 win over Liverpool in October, but they remain the weakest side in Group C by a wide margin. Even after upsetting the Reds, Belgrade still sports a -7 goal difference through four matches. Their away games with PSG and Liverpool ended 6-1 and 4-0, respectively.
Bettors are always tempted by long odds but stay away from Red Star (+2300) at Napoli (-950) next Wednesday. Napoli are in a dogfight to advance (just one point separates the top three in Group C) and haven’t lost at home since last season’s Europa League Round of 32, been that said, they are clearly the safest wager, now if you want to dig a big deeper follow these guys for online betting tips as their editorial team publishes the latest news, tips and pre-game betting analysis daily. They have been around for a while now and believe me, they know what they´re doing!
That said Belgrade are not completely without a chance either. Crvena Zvezda, after all, have won just two of their last six European away games this season, and have lost only three of their last ten (W3 D4) – in Paris, Liverpool and 1-0 at CSKA Moscow in last season’s UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg to lose by the same aggregate scoreline. They had conceded only four goals in eight away fixtures before shipping ten in total on matchdays two and three.
In some ways the discrepancy of results can be explained by the growing pain Crvena Zvezda have experienced in the Champions League. Most of their previous positive results have come in either qualifying for this competition or in the Europa League against second-rate opposition.
Furthermore, Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti will be warned by the Liverpool result. Napoli faced Chievo Verona and managed just a lacklustre 0-0 draw. Trailing Juventus by quite eight points, however, now seems unlikely Napoli can challenge for the Scudetto this season.
Hence, Ancelotti will put most of the focus on Europe and drawn in a tough group with Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain three points will be important for Napoli if they want to have any chance of advancing to the Champions League knockouts. Italian clubs are excellent when it comes to getting the job done, even if it means a pragmatic approach to a game. As a result, expect Napoli to win this one without producing too many fireworks in the process.
Napoli vs Red Star Belgrade – Players to look out for:
Lorenzo Insigne #24 – Napoli
Lorenzo Insigne has been in excellent form for Napoli lately. Nominally a winger Ancelotti has deployed the winger as a forward in his preferred 4-4-2 this season. Playing up front with a nominal number 9 Insigne has managed to score seven goals and three assists in 11 Serie A games this season. In the Champions League, his record has been equally impressive. Here Insigne has scored three goals (one goal every 108 minutes) in four games.
Milan Pavkov #9 – Crvena Zvezda
Milan Pavkov was the hero against Liverpool. The 24-year-old striker scored both goals to secure his side the 2-0 victory over the English giants. On loan at Radnicki Nis, last season Pavkov has struggled for years to make his mark at his favourite club. In fact, he was linked to various clubs this summer including the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS who were offered the services of the forward. But instead, Pavkov fought for his place at the club and is now being rewarded big times with starting minutes in the UEFA Champions League.
Napoli vs Red Star Belgrade – Match Stats
- Napoli are unbeaten in this season’s competition but have won only three of their last ten UEFA Champions League matches (D3 L4) – all those victories coming at the Stadio San Paolo.
- The Serie A side have lost two of their last five home European matches. However, they have suffered only four losses in their last 28 European home fixtures (W17 D7).
- The Naples outfit have won only one of their six matches against Serbian opposition (D3 L2) – a 3-1 home victory against OFK Beograd in the 1962/63 European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final second leg, although they went on to lose the replay by the same score.
- Before matchday 2, where Crvena Zvezda lost 6-1 to PSG, the Belgrade based side had lost only once in 14 European games; despite losing at Paris and Liverpool, they have still only suffered three defeats in their last 17 (W6 D8).
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Napoli vs Red Star Belgrade – 1-0
Napoli vs Red Star Belgrade – Lineups
Ospina – Rui, Albiol, Koulibaly, Hysaj – Zielinski, Allan, Hamsik, Callejon – Insigne, Milik
Head Coach: Carlo Ancelotti
Borjan – Rodić, Degenek, Savić, Stojković – Srnić, Jovančić, Krstičić, El Fardou Ben – Marin – Pavkov
Head Coach: Vladan Milojević
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.