Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic for today is the Barcelona vs Napoli Tactical Preview. The Champions League is back, guys. Barcelona has to face Napoli tonight and this is a promised thriller coming our way. I am going to write the detailed Tactical Preview of this game. Therefore, you guys can stay covered with everything you need to know about this game. Furthermore, we are also going to discuss the possible lineups and possible changes a few hours before the game. I am really looking forward to this one. How are you feeling about this game?
I wanted to write the Tactical Preview only because I believe that there is a lot to talk about in terms of tactics in this game. I believe that this is going to be a tactical war between Quique Setien of FC Barcelona and Gattuso of Napoli. We know that both managers have changed the setup of their respective teams ever since they joined the clubs. Furthermore, we know that both managers can outclass each other if everything goes their way. Therefore, this is going to be an indeed interesting preview. I am going to enjoy writing this.
I hope that you enjoy reading this as well. We are going to talk about what we can expect from both sides. Furthermore, we are going to compare the first leg which was played around 5 months ago. We are going to talk about the changes from that game and this upcoming game. All of this is coming your way. Stay tuned for this exclusive Champions League content. I swear you do not want to miss out on this. The main thing about this game is that Barcelona is playing at Camp Nou. Barca is undefeated here in CL since 2013.
BARCELONA VS NAPOLI TACTICAL PREVIEW
Let’s just first talk about ball possession. We all know that Barcelona is going to have more ball possession. However, this is still debatable. Napoli is also one of those teams which enjoy keeping a lot of the ball in their matches. This is evident by their stats in Serie A. However, if we take a look back at the First Leg of this game, Barcelona had a lot more of the ball than Napoli. The question here is if Barcelona’s more possession was due to their quality or was it because Napoli was letting them have more possession?
The answer to this question is that Napoli clearly allowed them to keep more of the ball. I repeat, Napoli is a team which enjoys keeping more possession. However, they were really comfortable in Barcelona keeping the ball to them in the first leg. Napoli had almost 9-10 players in their own half whenever Barcelona had the ball. They crowded their own half and made it really difficult for Barcelona to play any sort of killer pass or final balls. Therefore, it can be said that Barcelona had more possession, but that possession was meaningless.
Napoli displayed good defensive play. They restricted Barcelona to play any sort of killer passes and they also allowed Barcelona only one shot on target. This is unimaginable considering the amount of possession Barcelona had in that game. This is where Gattuso can be lethal. He is an unpredictable manager who can grab any team at any point in the game. Even when Griezmann scored for Barcelona, and leveled the score, Napoli was not trying to attack often. Instead, Napoli depended up on occasional counter-attacks or set pieces in order to try and get the goal. Pure defensive mentality!
HOW CAN NAPOLI PLAY IN THIS GAME?
Napoli knew that Griezmann equalizer in the first leg was actually an away Barcelona goal. This means that even if Barcelona draws the game 0-0 against Napoli today, they are going to go through. Yet, Gattuso’s men showed no urgency in attacking or trying to get a goal advantage at any cost. Now both teams are in to play the second leg of the competition and there are two or three ways Napoli can play in this game. Now I am just discussing my thoughts according to my knowledge. Gattuso might have other plans. Let’s discuss this.
The first approach from Napoli can be an offensive approach. The Italian side might look to attack Barcelona right from the first minute and search for goals. They can try to expose Barca’s weak defense and go back with the win. We know that the front three men from Napoli are going to stay deep within the Barcelona defense and they are definitely going to try and cause troubles. However, one thing to consider is if Napoli is actually going to attack Barcelona all out? The chances of this happening are pretty slim and uncertain.
Gattuso is aware of the fact that when you push a team in order to attack and always attack, your defense can be vulnerable. Barcelona has an active midfield and our midfielders are going to push their limits to snatch the ball. Therefore, if Napoli loses the ball during a counter, they can themselves face a counter-attack which can result in a goal. Therefore, I do not think that Gattuso is going to implement an all-out attack tactic. However, Napoli is going to push forward a lot to find goals. They know they have to score to win.
The second approach from Napoli can be a defensive approach. We can expect to see a similar Napoli gameplay as the first leg. Napoli is most likely to play patient and wait for their chances. They are going to search for Barcelona’s errors instead of producing brilliance of their own. Furthermore, one thing is for sure. I mentioned this in my Offensive Approach section as well that the front three are going to sit deeper in Barcelona’s defensive areas. They are going to press the defenders. I think that is going to be pretty critical from Napoli.
The reason is that I think that the major press from Napoli’s side is going to come from their front three men. Meanwhile, their defense is going to make sure that the Barca forwards do not penetrate through them or make late runs. Furthermore, this is going to be a game in which midfielders have to stay on their toes all the time. This is not only from Napoli’s perspective but from Barcelona as well. Therefore, I think that the beginning of this game is going to display a calm and composed Napoli side. They are going to stay patient.
I think that Gattuso is going to plan to stay in this game until the very end. I think he is going to try and keep the score 0-0 until the very end of the game and then attack Barcelona when they look tired. This can be a pretty smart tactic as previous teams have defeated us with the same approach. Therefore, Barcelona has a lot of responsibility heading into this crucial home game. We know that Barcelona can show laziness during the dying minutes. Therefore, our players have to make sure that we end the game before it gets too late.
Anyway, guys, this is it from the Tactical Preview of Barcelona vs Napoli. Stay tuned for more content related to this game. I am pretty excited to see this game and I cannot wait for the kickoff. We are going to cover the Match Review both tactically and generally as well. Therefore, make sure you stay tuned for that.
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Until the Match Review, guys. VISCA EL BARCA!