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FC Barcelona vs SSC Napoli, free match prediction 09 Aug 2020

09 Aug 2020 | 00:30 | Barcelona, Camp Nou
3 winner
1

BARCELONA HAVE ONE FINAL CHANCE TO SAVE THEIR SEASON AGAINST NAPOLI

  • Barcelona have endured a poor season by their standards, finishing 2nd in La Liga
  • Manager Quique Setien has come under fire for poor results and lack of style
  • Napoli proved a tough competitor in the first leg and will test Barca’s defence

Barcelona to win 2-1 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate.

  • Tournament: Champions League 2019-20
  • Venue: Barcelona, Camp Nou

Match Preview

In both August of 2018 and 2019, Leo Messi stood in front of a packed Camp Nou and laid down his objective to bring the Champions League trophy back to Barcelona for the first time since 2015. 

On both occasions, Barcelona fell short.

At least they won La Liga in both of those seasons, but not this year. Following a poor restart from lockdown, Barca surrendered their lead at the top of La Liga to eventual winners Real Madrid. They also crashed out early in the Copa del Rey to Athletic Bilbao. 

Much of this disappointment has been placed at the door of their manager – a man who appears to be running out of time. 

If rumours are correct, Quique Setien could be heading for the sack even if he wins the tournament, such is the fans’ disappointment at their style of football this season. This is their last chance of success.

Napoli is well placed to cause an upset, with an attacking, well-established team that ran their opponents close in the first-leg.

Teams Preview

FC Barcelona Preview

Form Guide (all comps.): W L W W W  

Reasons to be cheerful:

  • With Lionel Messi in full flow, anything is possible
  • Will be completely focused on winning the Champions League following earlier disappointment

Reasons to be fearful:

  • Unreliable defence against the top teams
  • Missing key midfielders through suspension

Barcelona will take confidence from the fact that despite their poor season so far, their talisman Leo Messi has remained in top form throughout. He has reached 30 goals for a record 12th successive season – without him, Barcelona would be nowhere. 

Unfortunately for him, his teammates have not been at the required standard of late. Fellow forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele have missed large chunks of the season through injury, while €120m signing Antoine Griezmann has failed to live up to the hype. 

Experienced midfield pair Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal, while also not at their best this season, will still be missed through suspension. Barcelona must rediscover their quick, creative style of playing if they are to succeed in this year’s competition.

Star Man – Leo Messi

So much of Barcelona’s success depends on the little Argentinean. When watching them play, everything goes through him. They will need him at his best this weekend.


SSC Napoli Preview

Form Guide (all comps.): W L W L W

Reasons to be cheerful:

  •  Star forwards can be a problem for any team
  •  Showed in the first leg that they can trouble Barcelona

Reasons to be fearful:

  • They have struggled to keep a clean sheet in recent weeks
  • A Messi masterclass is never too far away

Most teams would envy the forward firepower which Napoli have at their disposal. With Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne (strikers who have spent most of their careers so far at Napoli), the Italians will be confident that they can trouble Barcelona’s defence this weekend. 

The issue for Napoli manager, legendary player Genaro Gattuso, is his own defence. With a goal difference of just 11 in this season’s Serie A, Gattuso knows his backline is too leaky to consider keeping out Messi and co. for a full 90 minutes. 

Much sought-after defender Kalidou Koulibaly is a mainstay, but they will be missing his partner Kostas Manolas through injury.

They will likely need to score more than once to go through to the Semi-Finals, and it would not be a surprise to see them sit back a little deeper at the Camp Nou while looking for opportunities to counter themselves.

Star Man – Dries Mertens

At 33, Mertens still possesses the pace to get in behind the Barca defence and will take every opportunity to counter quickly when Napoli retrieves possession.


Winning Prediction

  • Barcelona to dominate possession, with Napoli sitting deep
  • Napoli will look to frustrate Barcelona before pressing quickly on the counterattack
  • Messi’s quality to separate the teams

Barcelona will be hurting at how their league season ended, eventually losing La Liga by a whopping seven points. Messi will be determined to show he is still the top player in Europe and should be nicely rested, playing his last match almost three weeks ago. 

Napoli will pose a threat to Barcelona on the night, but they will need something special to end the Blaugrana’s 35-match unbeaten home record in the Champions League.

Barcelona to win 2-1 on the night, and 3-2 on aggregate.

Author: Ross B.