Barcelona vs Napoli predictions and match preview for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as the Catalan giants begin their campaign in Europe’s secondary competition.
|Date||Thursday 17th February 2022|
|Kick-Off||18:45 (local time)|
|Competition||UEFA Europa League|
Barcelona vs Napoli Preview
On Thursday we should be in for a thrilling match as Barcelona host Napoli in the Camp Nou. Both sides will want to go far in this competition and both will be well up for the battle.
This is all new for the Catalan side. This is their first time playing in the Europa League, having last featured in the UEFA Cup way back in 2003/2004. They are so familiar in reaching the latter stages of the Champions League but this year it wasn’t to be as lacklustre performances stopped the Blaugranas from getting through the group stage. Head Coach Xavi Hernández will want his side to prove a point by going all the way in this competition.
In recent games his side have been playing a lot better and are controlling games more regularly and scoring more goals, something we have been accustomed to with Barcelona sides in recent years.
New signing Adama Traore has had a great start to his second spell with Barça and is in great form, although they did ride their luck in their last outing, drawing 2-2 with local rivals and 2x runners up in this competition Espanyol. Luuk de Jong’s last minute header snatched a point and Xavi will be hoping for a big reaction coming into this game and will be wanting to take an advantage into what could be a difficult reverse fixture in Naples.
Napoli will be making a record-equalling ninth appearance in the Europa League Knockout Stage and the Partenopei have won this competition once during the UEFA Cup era. The late great Diego Maradona led his side to the title with a 5-4 aggregate win over German side Stuttgart. Napoli’s present captain Lorenzo Insigne would love to follow in his idol’s footsteps and lift the trophy himself come the end of season.
Luciano Spalletti’s side are in fine form at the moment and are unbeaten in four games in all competitions. This is great for confidence going into this match but Spalletti will know it will be a tough task and will know his side need to be at their best to get something here. The Napoli fans will also have in their minds that in the last six two legged ties against Spanish teams they have lost all six, not a great omen for the Italians heading into this tie.
Head to Head
- The clubs have only met once before in European competition.
- That was in 2019/20 when Barcelona won a Champions League Last 16 tie 4-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona still have significant selection issues with Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, Memphis Depay, Samuel Umtitti and Ronald Araujo expected to be missing here. Dani Alves isn’t registered for this competition.
Hirving Lozano, Stanislav Lobotka and Matteo Politano are injured for the visitors. Axel Tuanzebe is ineligible.
Barcelona vs Napoli Predictions
Score Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Napoli
Although Napoli have a great away defensive record in the league, recent games in Europe show they can be got at. Luciano Spalletti’s men will really have a go at a slightly vulnerable Barcelona defence and will cause issues but Barça rarely lose at Camp Nou and Xavi will be expecting his side to start this competition on the right note. It is hard not to look past a home win.
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