Welcome back to TalkBarca. Our topic right now is BARCELONA VS NAPOLI – WHAT TO EXPECT? The crucial Round of 16 game between FC Barcelona and Napoli is just a few hours away. Therefore, I am here with my final article for the buildup of this game. We are going to be notified about the starting lineups within a couple of hours. Therefore, I wanted to talk about what we can expect from both teams. I am also going to talk about the potential starting lineups from both teams. There is a lot to talk about this game. So stay tuned!
The Champions League is officially back after what feels like a lifetime. I saw both games from yesterday in which Manchester City destroyed Real Madrid whereas Lyon managed to kick Juventus out of the competition. Four teams are going to play today as well. These teams are Bayern Munich vs Chelsea and obviously, Barcelona vs Napoli. Therefore, there is a lot of action expected from tonight as well. There is a lot to consider and talk about both parties. Both teams look fresh and look determined to knock each other out. However, let’s talk about Barcelona’s current condition.
The Blaugrana are undefeated on the Camp Nou soil in the Champions League since 2013. However, this season has been a different ride for the Catalans. They lost the La Liga title race to their arch-rivals, Real Madrid. Furthermore, they also got knocked out by Atletico Madrid earlier this season. Therefore, Barcelona is currently trophyless. Many promising players such as Griezmann and Dembele failed to deliver according to expectations. The season ended at a pretty bad note as well. Barcelona lost to Osasuna at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi lashed out on his board and Setien’s future looked uncertain.
BARCELONA VS NAPOLI – WHAT TO EXPECT?
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM BARCELONA?
I am going to talk about my team first. One thing is certain when talking about Barcelona. The Blaugranas have a point to prove today and if they fail to do so, it is going to be utter humiliation. Setien knows that his job is already at stake. Now I do not want to get started with my own opinions on this matter. If you are a regular visitor to our site, then you must know how I feel about this. However, Setien’s future at the club is not the concern right now. There is more to talk about.
Setien implemented different tactics ever since he joined the club. Barcelona looked better tactically towards the end of the season where Setien allowed his full-backs to play wide and made Messi stay central. However, Barcelona was still not able to attack the opposition as we would have liked. Barca still struggled to score goals and this is something unacceptable in the Champions League. The first leg against Napoli was very tight in terms of scoring goals and we can expect Napoli to do the same in this game as well. The players must give everything.
There is something even worse. Messi, Griezmann, and Semedo are on the risk of suspension even if Barcelona qualifies to the Quarter Finals. Therefore, the player’s energy levels and aggression must be backed up with proper care of not getting booked. Therefore, it is fair enough to say that Barcelona is indeed in trouble. Barcelona is the ones who are going to get humiliated the most if they lose today. Barca is also the favorites of this game which adds more to the mental pressure of the players. Our players have to prove today that Barca can still dominate in Europe.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM NAPOLI?
I keep repeating the same thing about Napoli. Napoli made it very difficult for Barcelona to attack in the first leg of the game. Gattuso is a clever manager and he knows how to exploit on weaknesses of his opponents. He did the same against Barcelona. He made his team defend with a low block in the first leg which made life miserable for the Barca players on the pitch. Gattuso overcrowded his midfield and blocked Barcelona’s killer passes or the clever through balls. I think we can expect something similar from him today as well.
I mentioned in my tactical preview that Gattuso is going to try and restrict this game to a 0-0 till the very end. However, if Napoli somehow scores first then it is going to be very difficult for Barcelona to come back. Barcelona’s top priority must be to stop Napoli from scoring instead of looking to score first. This is because Barcelona holds an away goal advantage and they are still going to advance to the next stage even if the game ends 0-0. Therefore, Barcelona’s defensive game must be more on point than their attacking game. I am excited!
Gattuso is also going to depend heavily upon Fabian Ruiz. I think this is going to a game where Fabian is going to be the life of Napoli’s midfield. This is because Ruiz has the ability to maneuver his way out of tight areas easily. His passing vision and ball control are also world-class which is going to be pretty handy against Frenkie De Jong, Puig, and also Grizyy. Napoli’s midfield is also going to press heavily and is going to get physical with our players because Barcelona is going to play without Bsuqi and Arturo Vidal.
BARCELONA VS NAPOLI EXPECTED LINEUPS
I expect Ter Stegen to start in goal. He delivered a great season for us and I think he is ready to do the same. The fans have huge hopes from the German Goalkeeper and I am positive about him today. There are very less occasions when Ter Stegen committed any major mistake. Therefore, let’s just hope that he delivers another great performance today. I think he is one of the most pivotal players in our squad and he knows that. Ter Stegen got a much-deserved rest and I think he is ready for Napoli.
I expect Setien to start with 4 defenders like normal Gerrard Pique and Clement Lengelt are going to start as Center Backs. I expect a lot from this duo as well. Pique is not in the best of his form, but he is a true leader. He has Catalan blood in his veins and he knows when to stand up for his team. Lenglet is another fighter. Lenglet is an unsung hero in this team and I think he deserves a lot of appreciation. He is always working tirelessly for the team and he is going to do the same.
Nelson Semedo and Jordi Alba are going to start as the fullbacks. I think Semedo deserves a lot of appreciation as well. This is a crucial game for us and an important tournament for us. Therefore, I feel like speaking positively for all my players. I do not want to criticize right now. Semedo improved his game a lot, especially in the final third. He is now more active in attack and helps his front men a lot. Lastly, Jordi Alba is another gem at the club. He is one of most senior lads around and knows how to play a game like this.
Sergio Busquests and Arturo Vidal are going to play this game due to suspension. Therefore, I expect e Jong, Raki, and Puig to start in the midfield. I think this can be a pretty lethal midfield trio as well. However, players such as Rakitic have to take major responsibility today. He is the most senior out of all the available midfielder options. Puig has just broken into the first team and I am positive about him. De Jong can play with a lot of authority as well and this is all we need.
I think Messi, Suarez, and Griezmann are going to start as FC Barcelona’s front three men. This is the trio we have seen very less in this season and I hope it clicks. However, I expect Messi to stay a bit deeper connecting more with the midfield. I expect him to play centrally and meanwhile, his full backs can contribute to the attack. Suarez needs to buckle up as well. We missed him in the first leg and he needs to prove why. Lastly, Griezmann is the sole scorer against Napoli in the first leg. Therefore, he must play confidently.
Anyway, guys, this is it from our side. The game is going to kick off in less than 2 hours from now. This is the last article regarding the Pre-game rituals or tactics or whatever. Now we can just sit back and hope that our team delivers a punch. I am hopeful for a good performance today. I believe in my team, my players, and my coach.
Stay tuned for more previews, reviews, and other news related to Barcelona. We are hopefully going to bring the Match Review to you timely so stick around for that as well.
Until the next time, VISCA EL BARCA!