AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli – Europa League, December 3, 2020
Napoli can seal a place in the last 32 of the Europa League if they beat AZ Alkmaar at AFAS Stadion on Thursday, December 3, although a win for the Dutch side would see them leapfrog the group leaders.
With Real Sociedad sandwiched between the two teams, the results on Matchday 5 look set to have a big say in the outcome of Group F.
After taking a look at the bookmakers’ odds, I give my AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli prediction and betting pick.
AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli Odds
Napoli (1.80) heads into this clash on the back of three straight Europa League wins. The top online betting sites have clearly acknowledged that.
However, given that AZ (4.05) secured a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture, I wouldn’t be surprised if the big odds for both the home win and the draw (3.80) attract a lot of attention.
AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli Preview
Following a freakish start to the 2020/21 campaign, Alkmaar is finally starting to turn draws into wins. Remarkably, Arne Slot’s men drew their opening five Eredivisie games this term, but they have since won their last four.
AZ’s unbeaten run has kept the club in a decent position, although Ajax is already ten points ahead. Any hopes of emulating last season’s second-place finish in the Dutch top-flight already seem to have disappeared.
Alkmaar claimed maximum points from their first two Europa League games, but a double-header with Real Sociedad has hindered the team’s chances of reaching the Round of 32. Having taken just one point from their previous two encounters, AZ still has plenty of work to do.
Goalkeeper Marco Bizot has helped his side to keep five clean sheets in their past nine matches in all competitions. If the shot-stopper is at his best on Thursday, AZ could keep Napoli at bay.
Napoli paid a fitting tribute to club legend Diego Maradona by thrashing Roma 4-0 in their first game following the Argentine’s passing. Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens were among the goalscorers as the Azzuri clinched their fourth win in five outings.
Sunday’s victory saw Napoli move up to fifth in the Serie A standings, leapfrogging Roma in the process. First-place AC Milan may by six points ahead, but Gennaro Gattuso’s men are doing their best to keep pace with the early frontrunner.
After recording an impressive away victory over Real Sociedad on Matchday 2, the Azzuri beat Croatian outfit Rijeka both away (1-2) and at home (2-0). The Italians are now in control of Group F, although they can’t afford to let their guard down just yet.
With AZ and Sociedad hot on their heels, Gattuso’s men need to head into Matchday 5 with a must-win mentality.
AZ Alkmaar vs. Napoli Pick
On paper, Napoli should arguably win this matchup. But AZ has shown a steely resilience in recent weeks. Slot’s men have only lost one game all season, thanks in large part to their solid defensive record.
The manner with which Napoli brushed aside Roma last weekend was outstanding, but let’s not forget that Alkmaar beat the Italians on Matchday 1. Having taken everything into consideration, I believe the draw offers the best betting value for this game.