Napoli v Barcelona Betting Tips: More Messi magic to inspire Barca?
Odds and preview for Champions League last-16 tie
Napoli got this season’s Champions League campaign off to the perfect start, beating defending champions Liverpool 2-0 at home. Now they’ll be looking for another huge scalp against Barcelona.
The La Liga champions head to the Stadio San Paolo tonight for the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.
The game gets underway at 20:00 on BT Sport 3HD and we’ve got all the pre-match odds and info right here…
Barcelona are the favourites in the first competitive meeting between these two sides, with our traders putting them at 6/5 for the win.
The Stadio San Paolo produces a sensational atmosphere, and the daunting prospect of the Naples crowd could throw the Catalan side off their stride. Napoli will hope to make home advantage count, so we’ve got a home win priced at 9/4.
Think the first leg could be a tentative affair? We’ve got the draw available at 12/5.
Both sides come into this tie on the same run of form across all competitions.
Napoli have won five of their last six, including huge confidence-boosting wins over Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia and Juventus in Serie A.
Their only loss in the last six came at home to Lecce, who condemned Napoli to a 3-2 defeat.
Barcelona have maintained a strong run of form in La Liga, regaining top spot in the league in a tight battle with Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi scored four at the weekend in a 5-0 league win over Eibar, with their only loss in the last six coming in the Copa Del Rey, where Athletic Bilbao ran out 1-0 winners.
Last weekend’s 5-0 win was marred by fan protests against club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, but defender Gerard Pique claims off-field issues will not distract the team.
Pique said “we will concentrate on what we control, which is what happens on the pitch”, and that although they’re not favourites for the tournament this season, Barcelona still “have possibilities.”
Napoli have been dealing without Kalidou Koulibaly, after the central defender has only managed one game in over two months for the Naples side. He remains sidelined.
Kevin Malcuit remains out with a cruciate ligament rupture, while Faouzi Ghoulam and Elseid Hysaj also look set to miss out through injury.
They’ve been boosted by the return of Allan, who made his comeback in their 2-1 win over Brescia, but he’s likely to only make it to the bench after Diego Demme’s arrival in January.
Barcelona are dealing with an injury crisis, so much so they were granted an emergency signing outside of the transfer window. Unfortunately, that signing, Martin Braithwaite, isn’t registered to play in the Champions League.
The Catalan side will have to do without defenders Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba, plus attackers Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez.
Napoli will need to keep Lionel Messi quiet if they’re to stand any chance of picking up a result. The Argentinian wizard has long been one of the most majestic players in the world to watch, creating chances from nothing and scoring for fun.
It’ll be an enthralling battle between two quality midfields too. Frenkie de Jong shone for Ajax in the Champions League last season and has been a first-rate addition to the Barca ranks for this campaign. It’ll likely be down to Piotr Zielinski to limit his creativity and service to the Barcelona front three.
Barcelona will have concerns about the Napoli front-line too. Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens have been an ever-present threat for years and continue to cause defences issues. They’ll look to target Barcelona’s full-back injury crisis.
If the goals don’t come from the Argentine, they’re likely to come from his French strike partner. Antoine Griezmann has settled in just nicely to the Barcelona side, and he’s 11/2 to grab the first goal, or you can find 21/10 on an anytime goal.
Dries Mertens may have been linked with a move away in the January window, but he’s still leading the line in Naples. He’s a 6/1 shot for first goalscorer, with our traders pricing him at 23/10 to score anytime.
View the latest Napoli v Barcelona odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.