The Champions League returns on Tuesday and we look ahead to Matchday 2.
A Different Napoli
Real Madrid are currently top of La Liga and now they will look to assert their dominance on the continent.
The Real Deal
After steamrolling their way to a first Scudetto win in 33 years, Napoli’s attempts at staying as the most dominant force in Italian football have largely faltered thus far. Admittedly there is still plenty of the season to go, but they look far from the beast they were just a few months ago.
A beast that not only dominated last season’s edition of Serie A but also reached the last eight of the Champions League and although everything seemed to click at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium last season, things seem more out of alignment under new manager Rudi Garcia.
With league-winning coach Luciano Spaletti undertaking a year-long sabbatical – one that has since morphed into him taking over from Roberto Mancini as the Italian national team manager, the Napoli reins have since been given to Garcia.
In fairness to the 59-year-old, Napoli do currently find themselves lying third in Serie A and four points behind the early pacesetters Inter. At the same time, dropped points to the trio of Lazio, Genoa and Bologna would not have occurred 12 months ago.
Now though the focus quickly shifts to the Champions League and the visit of Real Madrid on Tuesday. Both sides got off to the perfect start in the opening matchday a fortnight ago, both teams will be looking to make it two wins from two.
Tuesday’s hosts picked up an away win in Portugal, as they edged past Braga. Tuesday’s visitors needed a last-minute goal from new signing Jude Bellingham to break the hearts of debutants Union Berlin.
While Bellingham was once again on the scoresheet at the weekend, as Real Madrid not only got the better of this season’s Spanish surprise act Girona, but they also returned to the top of La Liga in the process.
A sixth goal of the league campaign to go alongside his aforementioned effort in the Champions League and those half dozen that have been scored in just 605 minutes. With numbers like that, there is no doubt that Bellingham is comfortable in his new surroundings.
At the same time, his manager Carlo Ancelotti will soon be returning to old surroundings. A season in Naples kept him busy across the 2018/19 campaign, it was one of the few outposts that did not lead to some form of overall success.
But now it is time for the first of my two tips and first up I am placing my focus on Los Blancos not only winning but also winning both halves. The Mighty Madrid getting out of the traps quickly and then getting the job done at the final whistle is priced at 3/1.
In addition to this, I am going to the correct score market and with Real Madrid backed to win both halves, I am also backing Carlo Ancelotti to return to his former employers before leaving with a 2-0 win in his back pocket. This outcome is priced at 12/1.