Chelsea and Napoli dovetail in Europa League winner odds

Chelsea and Napoli dovetail in Europa League winner odds

Opening wins in the Round of 16 see both Chelsea and Napoli continue as favourites for the Europa League

Several ties between Chelsea and Napoli include the fact that Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri have managed both clubs, and that both Gonzalo Higuain and Jorginho previously played for Napoli despite now being key players for Chelsea. Another link between the two clubs is how they’re being priced up in Europa League winner odds, where they continuously swap between being tipped as the favourite.

Looking to past months, Napoli moved ahead of Arsenal after a disappointing defeat to BATE back in February, and Chelsea were 4/1 favourites several weeks earlier. The current position now sees Chelsea at 11/4 to win the Europa League, followed closely by Napoli, who are priced at 10/3.

The previous 6/1 price possessed by Arsenal has drifted to 9/1 after losing 3-1 away to Rennes in the first leg of their Round of 16 meeting with the Ligue 1 side. That being said, they remain third in the runnings of potential Europa League winners, with Inter Milan then modestly priced at 10/1 after taking a 0-0 draw in their away leg against Eintracht Frankfurt to stand a chance of making it through the Round of 16 when they play out the second leg at home.

Before the odds move past the 10/1 mark, both Valencia and Sevilla are handed the same price as Internazionale, with Valencia 2-1 ahead of Krasnodar in their first leg at home, and Sevilla only able to take a 2-2 draw at home to Slavia Prague, leaving an opportunity for both sides to qualify in a decisive second leg.

Chelsea presenting their best performances in the Europa League

During a massively transformative changing of the guard at Chelsea, the club have waved goodbye to the defensive stability set by Antonio Conte in favour of an attacking regime imposed by Maurizio Sarri.

The Italians possess completely opposite styles to one another, but we’ve not seen enough of the overpowering attacking displays that Sarri made himself famous for at Napoli, leaving Chelsea with an admittedly underwhelming season.

An extremely turbulent start to 2019 saw Maurizio Sarri as favourite to leave the Premier League next, but with all Chelsea news regarding the manager going quiet, it’s starting to sound like the club will go against their usual trend of dismissing the manager prematurely in hopes of a long-term vision clicking into gear.

Efforts towards a Premier League top four finish have almost entirely fallen by the wayside – Chelsea now at sixth after originally challenging for the title at the start of the term – but the Europa League has been a piece of silverware that they’ve been gunning for, and one that Maurizio Sarri’s side appear to be capable of winning.

In nine games that date back to September, Chelsea are unbeaten, winning eight and drawing one. They’ve played to their strengths in Europa League fixtures and are happy to make sense of their position as favourites by putting on more solid displays.

It’s not to say that Chelsea have been absolutely pitch perfect in Europe, with a lot of this season’s faltering players still showing signs of weakness in the Europa League, but far stronger showings from the likes of Davide Zappacosta, Emerson Palmieri, Olivier Giroud, Ross Barkley, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz, Matteo Kovacic, Gary Cahill and Marcos Alonso to show that maybe Maurizio Sarri is steadily building something at the club.

Ross Barkley Chelsea

Ross Barkley looks more like the rising star he once was at Everton, putting on some fantastic displays in the Europa League.

With Juventus set to win Serie A, the Europa League is Napoli’s best hope of silverware

As one of football’s most decorated managers, Carlo Ancelotti has seen it all, including success with Chelsea, where he won the Premier League and the FA Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge. European ventures have been even more impressive, winning the Champions League twice with AC Milan and once with Real Madrid.

No job is too big for the Italian, who’s found success in all major footballing nations, but the fact that he lost the dressing room at Bayern Munich made it uncertain over where his next move would be. Taking over at Napoli saw him attempting to continue the fluid football relished at Stadio San Paolo, but while they could only live closely within Juventus’ shadow in Serie A, a second place finish will see them beat the likes of AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and Lazio.

Falling out of the Coppa Italia in the Quarter Finals and now sitting a whopping sixteen points away from Juventus in the Serie A table, Napoli’s only hope of silverware comes in the Europa League, and with Carlo Ancelotti’s pedigree in football management, they stand a solid chance of seeing it through to the end.

Coming into the Europa League after narrowly losing to Liverpool in a must-win Champions League game at Anfield, Napoli didn’t have the best start, losing 3-1 at home to Bundesliga wildcard RB Leipzig. They responded in style, winning 2-0 away from home; winning the three games played since shows the sort of side they’re capable of being.

Injuries previously hampered Arkadiusz Milik’s chances of being the star striker Napoli needed, but he’s been sensational this season, scoring fifteen goals between the Serie A and the Europa League. He’s even surpassed the efforts of Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon, who are usually the best contributors for Napoli, but currently don’t reach the tally set by Milik, who’s truly come into his own this season.

Avid followers of Italian football are prone to stating that Ancelotti’s Napoli are a far inferior side to Sarri’s Napoli, but the fact that they’ve outmuscled other giants to sit second in Serie A and find themselves as second favourite for the Europa League says a lot about Carlo Ancelotti’s progress in his first term at the club. It makes it easy to imagine either Chelsea or Napoli being crowned as Europa League winners this season.

Carlo Ancelotti Napoli

Carlo Ancelotti has three Champions League wins as a manager, but not a single Europa League to his name.