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3 Tactical ways Napoli can overcome Barcelona in the round of 16 tie | UEFA Champions League 2019/20

Modified 14 Feb 2020, 07:45 IST

Will his team come out on top?
Will his team come out on top?

Napoli are all set to face Barcelona in the round of 16 tie of the UEFA Champions League, in a clash that will be a good watch for the neutrals because of the way these two teams like to play.

Both the teams love to play possession-based football as they press high and try to dominate the opposition from the get-go, which means we are destined to see some high octane attacking play.

Despite all of that, everyone expects Barcelona to go through but stranger things have happened in the Champions League and if Napoli wants to cause an upset, they will have to outplay the Blaugrana in every department.

Here, we are going to take a look at the three tactical ways Napoli can overcome Barcelona.

#3 Instigating a high press

Setien believes in possession-based football
Setien believes in possession-based football

Under Quique Setien, Barcelona have been quite intent on playing out from the back, which has often come back to bite them. That's because possession-based style of play has a positional element to it and while the Blaugrana retain the ball well, their positional play is quite bad.

For instance, take a look at Barcelona's recent LaLiga match against Real Betis, where the Blaugrana were playing out from the back just for the sake of it and without any clear plan, which, in the end, resulted in them conceding two preventable goals.

So, if Napoli press smartly against this Barcelona side, they can induce some mistakes from their players, which will directly result in goalscoring opportunities. Hence, instigating a high press is a must for Gennaro Gattuso's men.

#2 Playing in a narrow 4-4-2

Fabian Ruiz is an important part of Napoli
Fabian Ruiz is an important part of Napoli

Right now, Barcelona don't have any out and out wingers, which has resulted in them lacking width during attacks. That has had a direct impact on Barcelona's style of play as the Blaugrana usually create their best opportunities by playing through the middle, rather than utilizing the wings.

Whenever Lionel Messi has the ball on the right-hand side, he takes a touch, drives inside and looks for runners. More often than not, the Argentine finds them and that's the most frequently used way Barcelona creates chances. So, if Napoli can play in a narrow 4-4-2 and crowd the middle of the park, Barcelona might find some difficulty to create goalscoring opportunities.

If Napoli gives any kinds of spaces in midfield, Barcelona will most definitely take advantage of them, hence it would be wise to lineup narrowly.

#1 Try to Man mark Lionel Messi

Barcelona's backbone

Keep Lionel Messi and the chances of a team winning a football match against Barcelona increase by a huge percent.

Messi can do almost everything with the ball at his feet and we have often seen Barcelona players on the pitch always trying to find the Argentine maestro.

So, man-marking Barcelona's little Argentine maestro is a must for Napoli and the one who can do that job is Allan. The Brazilian loves a tackle and along with that, he is quite hardworking and concentrated, which makes him the perfect contender. Gennaro Gattuso can also go with Piotr Zielinski or Diego Demme but both of them love to get on the ball and they might be negligent in doing the man-marking job.

Whoever marks Messi has to make sure that the Argentine has little impact on the game.

Published 14 Feb 2020, 07:45 IST
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