Barcelona vs Napoli: Preview and Prediction

Barcelona are all set to host Italian giants Napoli in search of a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

After a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first leg, Napoli and Barcelona are all set to square up against each other as they look to progress to the next round of Europe’s biggest club competition. Both teams have been a bit inconsistent throughout the season, but they now have an opportunity to move one step closer to the Champions League title.

The Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in Naples played host to the first leg of this Round of 16 tie. While both teams had an equal amount of possession, the Blaugrana looked more threatening going forward. They created more chances and took the lead with the help of Robert Lewandowski. But, the hosts managed to bounce back thanks to a Victor Osimhen strike.

With the scores level, both teams have equal chances of making it to the next round of the Champions League. Barcelona will be a bit worried as they have not been consistent enough throughout the season. They are already playing catch-up in the league and cannot afford a slip-up here.

The good news is that they have been unbeaten in their last seven games and have won three out of their last five. The Spanish giants are heading into this one on the back of a 1-0 win and will be confident about their chances.

Napoli have not been able to reach the heights they did last term. They are currently seventh in the league and are seven points behind the team in fourth. The disappointment of their overall performance could easily go away if they can manage to get to the next round by knocking out Xavi’s men.

While the Partenopei have been unbeaten in their last six games, they have only won two of those. They head into this on the back of a draw and will have to put up a much-improved performance to stand a chance. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics


Frenkie de Jong and Pedri have joined fellow midfield Gavi on the sidelines, which means Barcelona will be heading into this one with a makeshift midfield unit. Apart from the trio, Ferran Torres, Alejandro Balde, and Marcos Alonso are also out injured.

While the availability of Raphinha is also a doubt, they do have a boost as Ronald Araujo is back from suspension. Xavi will stick to the 4-3-3 formation, where Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be in goal. Jules Kounde and Joao Cancelo will be the full-backs for the home team. In the heart of the defence, Araujo will pair up with Inigo Martinez.

With Pedri, Gavi, and de Jong all out injured, Barcelona could go ahead with Fermin Lopez in the centre of the park alongside Ilkay Gundogan and Andreas Christensen. Lopez and Gundogan will support Christensen, who will line up as a defensive midfielder.

Lamine Yamal will take charge on the right flank, while Joao Felix will take charge on the left. Finally, star man Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for the Catalan giants against Napoli on Tuesday.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Martinez, Cancelo; Gundogan, Christensen, Lopez; Yamal, Lewandowski, Felix

Barcelona vs Napoli Predicted XI


Jens Cajuste and Cyril Ngonge are both struggling with thigh injuries and may miss this fixture. Amir Rrahmani was an unused sub on Friday and his availability will depend on his fitness levels. Piotr Zielinski is also unavailable as he has not been registered for this phase of the tournament after refusing to sign a new deal.

The visitors will also line up in a 4-3-3 formation, where Alex Meret will be in goal. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mathias Olivera will be the full-backs for them. In the heart of the defence, we will have Leo Ostigard pairing up with Juan Jesus.

The backline will look to keep things tight, while the midfield trio of Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Stanislav Lobotka, and Hamed Traore will look to control the tempo of the game. Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia will feature on the flanks. They will provide width to their attacks, while their star striker Victor Osimhen will be leading the line.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Di Lorenzo, Ostigard, Jesus, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Traore; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Barcelona vs Napoli Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Barcelona have won five out of the nine matches against Napoli on the European stage.
  • Napoli have not defeated Barcelona giants in any of their last five meetings. Three of those matches have ended 1-1.
  • Both teams have scored in their last five matches played between the two.
  • Barcelona have made it past the Round of 16 on 20 out of the last 21 occasions where they have avoided defeat away from home in the first leg.
  • Napoli have been eliminated on each of the last 11 occasions where they have failed to win the first leg of a European fixture at home.

Player to Watch

Victor Osimhen

Embed from Getty Images

In front of the goal, Osimhen has not been as dominant as he was last season. But he still has 13 goals and four assists to his name so far. If Napoli are to go past the Catalan giants, the Nigerian ace will have to step up and deliver.

He found the back of the net in the first leg, and one is unlikely to bet against him scoring in the second as well. While his overall form has not been that great, this match could turn things around for the 25-year-old ace.


Barcelona 1-2 Napoli

History, head-to-head records and recent form suggest that Barcelona are the ones heading into this one as favourites. But, the fact that they are without three key midfielders could hurt them big time.

Irrespective of their recent struggles, Napoli seem to have a perfect opportunity to knock the Spanish giants out of the UEFA Champions League. They do have the needed quality in their squad, and it will all depend on if things click for them in the final third or not.

The Hard Tackle predicts a closely fought encounter between two strong teams where the Partenopei might just have the last laugh. Napoli to go through to the next round with an aggregate scoreline of 3-2.

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