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Napoli vs. Barcelona Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
24 February 2020
Tuesday 24 February
San Paolo – Champions League
Napoli host Barcelona on Tuesday night, with their Champions League run distracting from poor form in Serie A. It’s not been smooth sailing for Barca either, who are dealing with injuries and controversy.
The two sides have never met in a competitive fixture, but did play each other twice in last summer’s friendlies, with Barcelona coming out winners on both occasions.
Gennaro Gattuso will have a big call to make over whether to field Kalidou Koulibaly on Tuesday, with the centre-back still on the return from injury. Kevin Malcuit is sidelined, as is Faouzi Ghoulam, meaning Napoli are short-staffed in defence. Dries Mertens is now fully fit, and will hope to start up front.
Barcelona’s injury woes are well documented, with Luis Suarez and Ousame Demebele both sidelined for the remainder of the season, but even so, new signing Martin Braithwaite is unlikely to make this squad on Tuesday. Ansu Fati is expected to continue alongside Lionel Messi and Antoine Greizmann, whilst Frenkie De Jong and Sergio Busquets are likely to be supported by Artur over Arturo Vidal.
Napoli vs. Barcelona Predictions, Preview and Predictions
Napoli may be lucky to play in the Champions League next season, but are making light work of this campaign, and will be confident as they face Barcelona on Tuesday.
Gennaro Gattuso’s side have struggled against the smaller sides in Serie A recently, yet took four points from a possible six off Liverpool, boding well for their upcoming game. Barcelona, likewise, have been inconsistent domestically, but finished top of a Champions League group stage that included Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund.
Quique Setien is clearly worried about striker depth, with Suarez side-lined, but the new manager’s approach fits Barcelona’s traditional style of relying little on forwards. A focus on possession, slow build-up and runners from midfield have seen the Blaugrana win four out of their last five games, and they will undoubtedly look to play their version of football at the San Paolo. They’re 2.15 for the win, with Napoli at 3.30 and 3.60 for the draw.
This may be easier said than done, as despite becoming renown for tiki-taka under Maurizio Sarri, the transition through Carlo Ancelotti to Gattuso has seen a more efficient and hard-fought Napoli side. January signing Diego Demme has added much needed steel to the midfield, and he will undoubtedly be tasked with keeping Lionel Messi quiet on Tuesday.
Elsewhere the return form injury of Mertens has added some much needed quality to the home side’s front line, whilst Arkadiusz Milik offers a different, but equally potent threat. Barcelona have been shaky at the back this season, and the movement of Napoli’s two strikers could cause real problems.
Whether Gattuso’s side are up to the challenge remains to be seen, but this could be Napoli’s chance to win their first ever ‘Diego Maradona derby’.
Antoine Griezmann to score anytime at 2.85
The Frenchman may not be in the best form, but with Messi dropping deep to create, is sure to get a number of chances.
Over 2.5 goals scored at 1.74
With flaws out the back, and overpowered front-lines, Tuesday could see be a high-scoring game