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Napoli v Barcelona – Preview, Predictions, and Best Bets

Napoli host Barcelona at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Napoli v Barcelona

Napoli host Barcelona at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Both sides are having tough domestic seasons in defence of their league titles. Partenopei made it to last season’s quarter-finals whilst Barca haven’t reached the quarters since 2020.

Napoli Form

Napoli’s season has been a disaster throughout. They sacked Rudi Garcia in mid-November but things have gotten even worse since then. Walter Mazzarri has overseen eight losses in the last 16 matches in all competitions. There have been numerous heavy losses including 3-0 at home to Inter Milan, 4-0 at home to Frosinone in the Cup, and 3-0 at Torino.

Although the latter defeat was followed by two wins, Napoli came into this clash on a run of one victory in five matches. They lost 1-0 at home to Inter Milan in the Italian Super Cup and then drew 0-0 at Lazio. After losing 1-0 at AC Milan, they could only draw 1-1 at home to Genoa this weekend, meaning they sit ninth in Serie A. That run has seen Mazzarri sacked and replaced by Francesco Calzona.

Napoli Team News

Napoli will have Victor Osimhen available again after his involvement in the African Cup of Nations. He will replace Giovanni Simeone up front. It’s not clear if the new coach will make any drastic changes.

January signing Cyril Ngonge scored from the bench in the last match but is set to remain amongst the substitutes. Piotr Zielinski and Mario Rui are two experienced options to come back into the XI. January midfield loan additions Leander Dendoncker and Hamed Traore will hope to be involved.

Napoli Motivation

Considering they sacked their coach this week, we may see a ‘new manager bounce’ of sorts. Calzona was assistant to the last two managers, Sarri and Spalletti.

A more attractive style of play may be seen, and the crowd could be lifted. They need to win this first leg and have to attack Barcelona.

Barcelona Form

Xavi’s side started 2024 in good shape with three wins in a row across three different competitions. A 4-1 humbling followed at Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. Whilst two wins followed, two more terrible losses were forthcoming, leading to Xavi announcing his departure in May.

Barca lost 4-2 at Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey and 5-3 at home to Villarreal in the league. They’ve rallied behind their coach since then, beating Osasuna 1-0 and winning 3-1 at Alaves. A 3-3 home draw vs Granada was followed by Saturday’s 2-1 win at Celta Vigo thanks to a last-minute penalty.

Barcelona Team News

Joao Felix has made a sudden return from an ankle injury and will boost Xavi’s options. Ronald Araujo should shake off a knock to start at the back and Sergi Roberto is available again too.

Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Marcos Alonso, and Ferran Torres are all out injured. Pedri is fit to play, and we may see Andreas Christensen anchoring midfield in this one. Ilkay Gundogan’s return to the midfield may see Pedri move to the left flank.

Barcelona Motivation

Motivation has appeared higher since Xavi announced his departure. This competition is their only chance at silverware between now and May.

They will look to be solid, possibly using Christensen in midfield, and look to leave Naples with a draw. Confidence will be high in finishing the job in Catalonia.

Key Stats

Napoli have lost 8 of their last 16 matches

Napoli are winless in 4 matches vs Barcelona since 2020 (lost 2, drew 2)

Barcelona have had just 1 clean sheet in 9 matches (25 goals conceded)

Barcelona have lost 3 of their last 9 matches

Barcelona have seen Both Teams to Score YES in their last 11 away matches


These sides are both a long way below their best. With Napoli having a new manager and Barcelona rallying since Xavi announced his departure, the result is tough to call. Expect bothsides to score in the clash.

Best Bet: Barcelona to qualify at 1.54
Multiplier Leg: Both Teams to Score at 1.55
Single Bet: Draw at 3.40

James is a football analyst who writes about the tactics of the PSL and English Premier League. He holds the UEFA A coaching licence and has previously worked for several clubs in analysis roles.Twitter:

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