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Napoli v Barcelona prediction, preview, predicted XI and more | UEFA Champions League 2019-20

FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli
FC Barcelona v SSC Napoli
Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Modified 24 Feb 2020, 01:25 IST
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Napoli will welcome Barcelona to the Estadio San Paolo for their Champions League Round of 16 clash on Tuesday evening.

The Italians booked their spot in this round by virtue of their second-place finish behind Liverpool in Group E of the competition, while the Blaugrana topped a group also comprising of Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and Slavia Prague.

Napoli v Barcelona Head-to-Head

This would be the first competitive meeting between Barcelona and Napoli, although both sides have clashed on four occasions in the past in friendly action.

The latest of those came during last year's set of pre-season fixtures, with the two teams squaring off in the United States and Barcelona won both matches, thumping Napoli 2-1 and 4-0 in the space of two days.

They also met on two occasions five years earlier in August 2014 but the wins were shared on that occasion, with Barcelona trashing the Italians 5-0 before suffering a narrow 1-0 loss two weeks later.

Napoli form guide: WWWLWW

Barcelona form guide: WWWLWW

Napoli v Barcelona Team News

Barcelona's season was threatened with the long-term injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez and although Danish international Martin Braithwaite was brought in as an emergency replacement, the former Leganes man is not eligible for the Champions League.

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In addition to the two forwards, coach Quique Setien is also without the services of full-backs Sergi Roberto (muscle) and Jordi Alba (Hamstring) who are both sidelined until March.

Injuries: Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba

Napoli v Barcelona Predicted XI

Barcelona Predicted XI: Marc Andre ter Stegen; Junior Firpo, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique, Nelson Semedo; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Arthur; Arturo Vidal, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi

Napoli v Barcelona Prediction

After a disastrous start to the season that led to the termination of Carlo Ancelotti's appointment and his replacement with Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli have turned a corner in recent weeks and currently find themselves with a chance of a top-four finish which seemed impossible some months ago.

The Pertenopei are currently on a good run that has seen them win six of their last seven games in all competitions and they would look to continue with another impressive result against a Barcelona that have been beneath their usual standards.

The Catalans posted an impressive 5-0 victory over Eibar at the weekend and Real Madrid's shock loss to Levante later in the day saw them reclaim top spot at the summit of LaLiga.

Quique Setien is yet to truly win over the fans of the Catalans and the game against Napoli offers him an excellent opportunity to send a statement of intent.

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It is no hidden secret that Barcelona are desperate to get their hands on the Champions League but their recent away record in the knockout rounds of the competition has been atrocious, to say the least.

Their 1-0 win over Manchester United in the quarter-final last season remains their only away win in their last nine knockout fixtures on the continent and the last time they visited Italy, they were on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat by Roma that saw them knocked out.

This poor away record coupled with the absence of key forwards would give Napoli hope and given their high morale and confidence, they are in prime position to post a positive result that would keep them in the tie when they travel to the Camp Nou for the second leg.

Verdict: Napoli 2-1 Barcelona

Published 24 Feb 2020, 01:25 IST
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