Napoli vs Barcelona: Match preview
Barcelona travels to Italy to face Napoli in the first match of the Champions League, having achieved three straight wins in La Liga. The locals have also enjoyed good form lately, recording three wins in all competitions.
After a series of less convincing appearances during his opening weeks as manager of Barcelona, Quique Setien is naturally worried that his dream at Nou Camp will quickly end.
Napoli team news:
Gennaro Gattuso had a lot of work in his hands at the start and had a hard time coping with replacing Ancelotti. He lost four of his first six games in all competitions. The negative results have led Napoli to fall in the middle of the table, a position that was once considered unimaginable.
However, the former Milan coach turned things around. He led Napoli to a sixth win in seven games, which later helped the club in both home competitions. Although victories against Lazio and Juventus in the Cup reached the headlines, their Serie A form has now led them to contend for places leading to European competitions.
Several of their key players have scored goals in recent games, though it has been three matches since Napoli scored in the first half. Still, Gattuso won’t mind, as long as his players continue playing strong until the end of the game, which may be necessary to keep Barcelona’s game to a minimum.
Probable lineup: Ospina; Lorenzo, Manolas, Maksimovic, Rui; Ruiz, Demme, Elmas; Politano, Mertens, Insigne.
Barcelona team news:
Having recorded seven wins in nine games, the former Real Betis manager has now settled on the Catalan giants and will be confident that he will eventually manage to snatch Real Madrid’s place in the title fight.
After tough matches against his former club and Getafe, Saturday’s 5-0 win against Eibar came at the right time in the wake of what could be a big test for Barcelona in Naples.
Lionel Messi played four games without a goal before Eibar. Then he broke that poor streak with four goals against Eibar. The Argentine will now want to transfer his form to the Champions League on Tuesday when they face Napoli after scoring only two in five group stage matches.
Probable lineup: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Vidal.
Napoli has a lot of problems this season, and whenever we think they’re going in the right direction, they deny us that. Playing against Barcelona will certainly be a much more difficult task for them. The Spaniards are in great form at the moment and I expect them to be fully motivated and concentrated in this game, even though they play El Clasico next weekend.
Where to watch:
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