Napoli host Barcelona
We expect some great football when Napoli host Barcelona at the Stadio San Paolo in a match from the 1/8-finals of the Champions League this Tuesday. Let’s discuss this fixture in our Champions League predictions today.
Napoli are finally starting to improve since they took the decision to sack Carlo Ancelotti and replace him with Gennaro Gattuso. The Azzurri won most of their games lately, including against teams like Juventus, Inter Milan and Lazio. Gattuso needed some time, but it seems that right now his team is starting to click. This was a perfect timing for Napoli, because the tie against Barcelona comes for them in a moment when they are reaching peak form.
On Friday Napoli prepared for the game against Barca with a 2-1 win against Brescia in the Serie A. Brescia scored first, but after the halftime break Gattuso’s team secured the win with goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Fabian Ruiz. The manager continued to ignore the summer signing Hirving Lozano who is barely playing under Gennaro Gattuso.
Barcelona are also in a good shape before their flight to Naples. Thanks to their consistency, Los Cules returned at the top of La Liga, overtaking Real Madrid. On Saturday Barca hosted Eibar at the Camp Nou and crushed the visitors with 5-0. The six time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi scored four goals for the win.
Barcelona’s new manager Quique Setien is obviously working hard to make the team follow his football philosophy. The truth is that Setien is seeing the game much more different than Ernesto Valverde, so it was clear that he’d need some time to make the transition. The game against Eibar showed that Barca are in a good spot right now.
In our Champions League predictions we can make the conclusion that Barcelona will enter the pitch at Stadio San Paolo as favourites, but it won’t mean much. Napoli are getting better in the last month or so and we think the Italians have the tools to hurt Barca.