Napoli stadium ban may make Arsenal safe bet in Europe

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The news that Arsenal’s final Champions League group game away to Napoli may now be played behind closed doors because of crowd trouble could make Arsene Wenger’s men a safe bet to top the so-called Group of Death.

A 1-0 victory away against Borussia Dortmund last time out has the left the north London club top of their group and level on points with the Italian side, with Arsene Wenger’s next game against a Marseille team already out of contention.

The Gunners are now favourites to finish in pole position at 8/15 with Napoli next in action against last season’s beaten finalists at the Westfalenstadion.

Rafa Benitez’s charges may be second favourites in Group F to reach the knockout stages at 5/2 but should they lose in Germany and then fail to collect three points at home to Arsenal, then an early exit could yet be on the cards.

The Partenopei traditionally rely on the intimidating atmosphere of the Stadio San Paolo to motivate their team to victory, with their partisan fans already playing a part in wins over Dortmund and Marseille.

But crowd trouble in the latter of those two fixtures may now see the club forced to play their final home match behind closed doors in a move that could prove beneficial to both Arsenal and Dortmund.

The Gunners already look a shoe-in to qualify and should UEFA opt to impose a stadium ban on the Italians then an away victory may not be impossible. Such a result would play into the hands of the Germans who are 5/1 to qualify.

Much will depend on the outcome of the next round of games with victories for the Londoners and Jurgen Klopps’ side leaving Napoli facing a potentially tricky predicament.

As such the odds of 6/5 on Dortmund and Arsenal reaching the last 16 may be too good to ignore.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.