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Barcelona vs Napoli: Preview, team news, predicted XI and more| UCL 2019-20

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Barcelona will welcome Napoli in the second leg of their Round of 16 UEFA Champions League fixture at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.

After a tight affair in Naples in the first leg, which ended 1-1, with Barcelona scoring an important away goal, both teams will once again lock horns to secure their place in the quarter-finals in Lisbon.

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Dries Mertens opened the scoring for the home side in the first leg, after curling a shot beyond Marc-André ter Stegen’s reach on the 30th-minute mark.

Antoine Griezmann then scored a second-half equalizer for Barcelona after turning in Nelson Semedo’s cross to provide the Catalan side some much-needed breathing space.

 Barcelona endured a disappointing league campaign this season, and surrendered the La Liga title for the first time in three years.

The Catalan giants finished second behind their arch-rivals, Real Madrid after accumulating only 82 points in 38 matches.

On the other hand, Napoli finished their Serie A campaign all the way down in seventh, failing to put up a good run of form throughout the whole season.

However, Gennaro Gattuso’s men did manage to confirm their spot in next season’s UEFA Europa League after beating Juventus in Copa Italia final.

Barcelona vs Napoli: Road to the Round of 16

Barcelona

17 September 2019: Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona (Group F fixture)

2 October 2019: Barcelona 2-1 Inter Milan (Group F fixture)

23 October 2019: Slavia Prague 1-2 Barcelona (Group F fixture)

5 November 2019: Barcelona 0-0 Slavia Prague (Group F fixture)

27 November 2019: Barcelona 3-1 Borussia Dortmund (Group F fixture)

10 December 2019: Inter Milan 1-2 Barcelona (Group F fixture)

25 February 2019: Napoli 1-1 Barcelona (Round of 16, 1st leg)

Barcelona topped Group F with 14 points, four points ahead of second-placed, Borussia Dortmund. However, the Catalan giants looked far from convincing in almost every group match, managing narrow wins with several minor hiccups.

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Luis Suarez is Barcelona’s top goalscorer in the Champions League this season with three goals to his name, while Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann have two each.

Napoli

17 September 2019: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool (Group E fixture)

2 October 2019: KRC Genk 0-0 Napoli (Group E fixture)

23 October 2019: RB Salzburg 2-3 Napoli (Group E fixture)

5 November 2019: Napoli 1-1 RB Salzburg (Group E fixture)

27 November 2019: Liverpool 1-1 Napoli (Group E fixture)

10 December 2019: Napoli 4-0 KRC Genk (Group E fixture)

25 February 2019: Napoli 1-1 Barcelona (Round of 16, 1st leg)

Napoli finished second in Group E with 12 points in their kitty, only one point behind the current holders, Liverpool.

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Gli Azzurri are unbeaten in this season’s Champions League so far and have managed to stitch up several breathtaking displays, including a 2-0 victory against Liverpool in the very first matchday.

Barcelona vs Napoli: Head-to-head record

Barcelona’s visit to Napoli in the first leg was the first competitive meeting between both sides, with the game ending 1-1 at the Stadio San Paolo.  

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Barcelona vs Napoli: Previous meetings

25th February 2020: Napoli 1-1 Barcelona (UEFA Champions League)

Barcelona vs Napoli: Recent form

Barcelona: W-L-W-W-W (most recent first)

Napoli: W-LW-L-W (most recent first)

Barcelona’s form has been patchy since football returned to Spain. The Catalan giants uncharacteristically dropped points in four out of their last 11 La Liga fixtures, finishing five points behind eventual winners, Real Madrid.

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Meanwhile, Napoli’s recent form has been much more erratic. The Serie A side have lost three and drawn once in their last five away domestic fixtures.

Barcelona vs Napoli: Team news

Barcelona

Both Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal will miss the crucial encounter due to suspensions, while Frenkie de Jong is expected to revert to his natural position in the absence of Busquets.

Barcelona manager, Quique Setien will also miss the services of Ousmane Dembele (fitness) and Samuel Umtiti (knee) due to injuries. Antoine Griezmann (thigh) and Clement Lenglet (groin) remain doubtful ahead of Napoli’s visit to the Camp Nou.

Absentees: Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Ousmane Dembele, and Samuel Umtiti

Doubtful: Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet

Napoli

Gennaro Gattuso will miss the service of his dependable centre-back, Kostas Manolas, who is yet to recover after suffering a rib injury.

Meanwhile, both Nikola Maksimovic (ankle) and Lorenzo Insigne (adductors) remain major doubts ahead of the crucial tie.

Absentees: Kostas Manolas

Doubtful: Nikola Maksimovic and Lorenzo Insigne

Barcelona vs Napoli: Predicted line-ups

Barcelona predicted XI: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique, Nelson Semedo, Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann.

Napoli predicted XI: David Ospina, Mario Rui, Kalidou Koulibaly, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Elseid Hysaj, Fabian Ruiz, Diego Demme, Piotr Zielinski, Elif Elmas, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon  

Barcelona vs Napoli: Prediction

Given Napoli’s poor away record in Europe and Barcelona’s sensational 35-match unbeaten home run in the UEFA Champions League, it would take a herculean effort from the Serie A side to knock Lionel Messi and Barcelona out of the continental competition.

Having said so, Napoli still have an outside chance to rock Barcelona early in the tie by taking advantage of their vulnerable defensive line. But again, with Lionel Messi in their squad, the Catalan giants should feel comfortable ahead of Saturday’s high voltage clash.  

With all that in mind, Barcelona remain big favorites to knock Napoli out and book their place in the quarter-finals in Lisbon.  

Barcelona vs Napoli: Verdict 2-1

Also Read: Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Preview, team news, predicted XI and more | UCL 2019-20

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