|BARCA (-169) @ pinnacle|
3 of 3 Experts (100%) with a pick on the moneyline are aligned. 9* play on Barcelona (Straight-up).
Ben Burns: GAME OF THE WEEK (SOCCER) **STARTS SOON!**
While it isn't likely to be "easy," I expect Messi and co. to ultimately find a way this afternoon. Barcelona comes in hungry, having not won for awhile and I look for Messi to lead by example: The Argentinian star had this to say: "If we want to win the Champions League we'll have to improve massively otherwise we can lose against Napoli." Barcelona's coach noted: We've prepared for the game diligently and I'm convinced we're going to get through and compete to make it to the Champions League final ..." Napoli's coach commented: "...We know we have to play a great game and even then that might not be enough for us. Not having won anything gives Barça more strength. It gives them more hunger. I see it that way. They are a team that have been used to winning for many years.
Jazz Ray: CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - Barca vs Napoli
Messi suarez and griezmen will privide more than enough offense to Napoli away quick! There is tremendous value in this number as it should be upwards of -250.
Soccer Authority: UCL PLAY OF THE YEAR - Barca v Napoli
Barcelona have taken an away goal back to the Camp Nou so will be in the driving seat for this return leg. Below I will try to evaluate where the value lies in this closely contested tie.
Barcelona had a fall from grace since sacking Valverde and bringing in Quique Setién (he'll be sacked after this competition)
Under Setién Barca are W 15 D4 L4 with 45 scored and 18 conceded. Shock results came in the form of a 1-2 loss at home to Osasuna (season was finished), a 1-0 loss in San Mames to Athletic (Copa), and 2-0 loss in the Mestalla to Valencia in Setién's 2nd league game.
Despite the dip in performances, Barcelona still remain dominant, partiuclarly on home turf.
From the league and UCL Barca average 2.59 goals per game and just 0.82 conceded per game at Camp Nou.
In terms of xG thats's 1.88xG per 90 (They over perform their xG but that's partly due to world class talent) while slightly over performing their xGA (0.97xGA per 90)
Only two teams have travelled to the Camp Nou and posted a superior xG score to Barca, that was Spurs in 18/19 and Inter this season. In both matches Barca played a "B" team as they had already won their group.
Barca at home in this competition are unrivaled. They are unbeaten here since 2013 and have won 88.6% since they last lost here (vs Bayern in 2013)
Team News: A lot has been made about Barca's team news but they will still be fielding a superior XI to their Italian counterparts this evening. Sources in Spain seem to indicate the following XI
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Sergi Roberto, Rakitic, de Jong, Messi; Suárez and Griezmann.
Barca are without Busquets and Vidal. Busquets is the bigger loss in my opinion but de Jong got some minutes under his belt since returning from injury so their midfield should be fine. After Lionel Messi, de Jong has the biggest overall impact on Barca's xG+/- in the UCL
As we know Barca will dominate possession in this game and considering how good they are at pressing their opponents we shouldn't expect to much success from Napoli. (See how badly Napoli struggled to create vs Liverpool and RB Salzburg who are also good pressers)
In Serie A this rings true too, Atalanta, Bologna, Hellas, and Inter were among the best at pressing in the league and Napoli didn't have the best results against these sides this season (They only beat Hellas Verona).
Napoli have to chase the game here which I don't think will play into their strengths. In these big games Gattuso has played very conservatively relying on fast counter attacks. They can't afford to do that here, particularly if Barca get off to a fast start
Napoli lost the xG in that first leg 1.26-0.64, they did play very well at restricting Barca's chances but like I mentioned above they can't afford to play this way especially if Barca score.
Expected Napoli XI: Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Koulibaly, Manolas, Mario Rui; Zielinski, Demme, Fabian; Elmas, Mertens and Callejón. (Insigne, Maksimovic, and Manolas are doubts from what I've rad)
Napoli are unbeaten in the UCL away from home this season but performances have been concerning. They were 2nd best in the 1-1 with Liverpool (xG 1.12-0.22 - Napoli had one attempt on target in that match and scored.
Against RB Salzburg they were dominated and still managed to win 3-2. RB Salzburg peppered their goal all game and were unlucky not to win.
Against Genk Napoli played out a 0-0 (xG 0.8-2.17)
Over the last 4 seasons,, Napoli have only beaten one team from a Top 5 league in the UCL, that came against Nice in a qualifier
Since the restart Napoli have been pretty weak away from the San Paolo too with just 2 wins from 6. During that period they lost 2-0 to Atalanta, drew 1-1 with Bologna, lost 2-1 to Parma, and 2-0 to Inter
Finally, history doesn't appear to be on Napoli's side. They haven't beaten a team from a Top 5 league away from home in the Champions League since the 13/14 season (vs Marseille)
Best of luck!
at covers experts
Winning Starts Here