Napoli v Barcelona Betting Preview: Latest odds, team news, tips and predictions

Napoli v Barcelona match preview image

Champions League Napoli v Barcelona

Napoli logo Barcelona logo

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


San Paolo Stadium

Punter's Pick

Napoli have a proud record of getting one over on more illustrious European opponents – just ask Liverpool, who have been sent packing twice in recent seasons without even scoring. Recent wins against Inter Milan and Juventus shows the side from Naples are back to something approaching their best, and at 9/4 to win outright with Bet365 they look a great value punt. 

The first leg of knockout games rarely tend to be free scoring affairs, with neither side looking to create a mountain to climb in the second leg. A cagey looking affair looks to be on the cards, therefore 2.5 goals and under with Bet365 at Evens looks an excellent proposition.

 

Injury plagued Barcelona travel to Naples for a testing clash at a resurgent Napoli side, with a feverish atmosphere expected inside the San Paolo Stadium in an intriguing last 32 clash in the Champions League.

Barcelona caught short upfront?

The talking point in recent weeks has been the controversial decision by the Spanish FA to allow Barcleona to buy a striker outside of the transfer window, merely on the fact that two of their star strikers – Ousman Dembele and Luis Suarez, are ruled out for the rest of the season with long term injuries. Mercifully UEFA’s premier competition will not be tainted by the presence of Martin Braithwaite, the striker signed by Barcelona in an ‘emergency’ deal is ineligible as he is already outside the registration window.

The signing of Braithwaite, rightly or wrongly allowed under current domestic legislation, highlights a shortage of talent coming through at Barcelona and at their famed ‘La Masia’ academy, and of their squad planning in general given that they have turned to a relative journeyman forward with no serious pedigree at the top level. With Antoine Griezmann at this stage proving to an expensive mistake with a miserable return of just nine goals all season, the pressure as ever will fall on the great man himself, Lionel Messi to almost single handedly take his side through.

Napoli beginning to find form at last

Barca’s opponents on Tuesday have no such problems upfront, with a range of attacking options in Dries Mertens, Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Insigne likely to provide a stern examination for a far from watertight Barca defence.

The Italian side are also finally beginning to show their form of previous seasons after struggling in the first half of the domestic season – five wins in their last six league games, including impressive victories over Inter Milan and Juventus have put them back into contention for a Europa League spot and will put them in fine spirits going into this clash.

Team News

Barcelona will be without Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for the rest of the season, leaving Lionel Messi to be supported by Antoine Griezmann. Young star Ansu Fati was rested in the weekend and may come into contention depending on how adventurous the away side are, although the experience Arturo Vidal may be preferred.

Napoli are without Kevin Malcuit with a long-term with a cruciate ligament rupture, while key defender Kalidou Koulibaly (thigh) and Fernando Llorente (illness) are serious doubts.

Napoli to do enough to score first leg win?

Napoli are notoriously difficult to beat at home in European competition, and Barcelona will have their work cut out to cope with the physical and tactical approach that the Italians will surely offer. Napoli are unlikely to venture too far forward against Messi and co, knowing full well Barca are vulnerable at the back and they can pick their moments to attack. A clean sheet and narrow win would be the classic Italian first leg result, and Messi aside the visitors may not have enough class to hurt a well drilled home side.

Punter's Pick

Napoli have a proud record of getting one over on more illustrious European opponents – just ask Liverpool, who have been sent packing twice in recent seasons without even scoring. Recent wins against Inter Milan and Juventus shows the side from Naples are back to something approaching their best, and at 9/4 to win outright with Bet365 they look a great value punt. 

The first leg of knockout games rarely tend to be free scoring affairs, with neither side looking to create a mountain to climb in the second leg. A cagey looking affair looks to be on the cards, therefore 2.5 goals and under with Bet365 at Evens looks an excellent proposition.

 

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