Betting tips & odds comparison 25.02.2020 SSC Napoli - FC Barcelona
Betting Tip for matchday 1 of the 2019/2020 Champions League between SSC Napoli and FC Barcelona. The game will be played at Diego Maradona (Neapel, Italy) on 25.02.2020 at 21:00.
Napoli vs Barcelona
History beckons at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night as Napoli welcome Catalan giants Barcelona in their first ever competitive game.
To say Napoli’s Seria A campaign has been disappointing would be an understatement. They haven’t really lit up the Seria A as has been the norm in recent years, leading up to the firing of coach Carlo Ancelloti, and the subsequent appointment of former Italian international, AC Milan and Rangers midfielder, Gennaro Gattuso, to take charge at the Naples based side in mid-December.
He started off slowly but Napoli have turned it up in recent times in the Seria A in a run that has seen them winning six of the last seven games including a remarkable 2-1 win over league leaders Juventus. This has seen them climb up to sixth as the race for champions league places intensifies.
In stark contrast, Napoli have had a terrific campaign in Europe thus far into the competition. They finished the group stage undefeated (winning three and drawing three). Belgian forward Dries Martins banged in five goals in those games as they finished second in the group behind reigning European champions Livepool, who, incidentally, they picked up four points from, beating them 2-0 in the opening game at home, before sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw later in the competition.
Napoli have a virtually fully-fit squad available after coming through Friday night’s win at Brescia without any new injury concerns, with long-term injury victim Kevin Malcuit their only confirmed absentee. Dependable Italian forward Lorezo Insigne who has been in decent form is expected to continue leading the lines upfront. Other key players like Arkadiusz Milik, Lozano and Koulibaly who were carrying knocks passed the fitness test and will be available for selection.
The Catalan giants have been one of the most dominant teams in this competition in recent years. They have progressed past the round of 16 in their last twelve seasons. That success hasn’t always ended in glory and they have suffered embarrassing defeats in latter stages particularly in recent years. They are looking to exorcise the ghosts of last season’s campaign where they inexplicably blew a 3-0 first leg lead to dramatically collapse to a rampant Liverpool team, losing 4-0 in the second leg at Anfield in one of the biggest upsets in the competition’s recent history. Liverpool would go on and win the competition.
New Coach Quique Setién has seemingly instilled a sense of purpose and confidence in his short stint in charge to take them back to the top of La Liga. This will be his first taste of the round of 16 in this competition and he will certainly hope to carry over some of that charm from La Liga and make a deep run in the competition.
Argentine magician Lionel Messi who has turned into a playmaker in Barcelona’s recent games with 5 assists in his last 5 games, took matters in his own hands and put up a virtuoso performance against Eibar over the weekend, exploding with an astounding four goals as the Catalans ruoted the relegation threatened side 5-0 at the Camp Nou to open up a two-point gap at the top of La Liga after rivals Real Madrid faltered away at Levante losing 0-1 to the mid-table team.
With long term injuries to Suarez and Dembele, Messi has had a good supporting cast in Frenchman Antoine Griezmann and teenage sensation Anssumane Fati. Frenkie De Jong has also settled in well as has their latest acquisition Martin Braithwaite who was signed past the transfer window under special circumstances sanctioned by UEFA following season ending injury to Ousmanne Dembele. He has however not travelled with the team as he is ineligible for this competition.
Possible Line Ups
|Injured: Koulibaly (thigh), Milik (knee), Lozano (doubtful), Hysaj (doubtful), Llorente (doubtful) and Suárez (knee), Dembélé (hamstring), Alba (groin), Roberto (adductor)|
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two teams. They have seemingly both put their best performances in Europe this season where they both finished undefeated in their respective groups.
Napoli are so far off in the race for the Scuddeto and will look up to this competition to provide solace for their fans. They are likely to go all out particularly in this first leg to if they are to stand any chance. Their defence has however been leaking in goals this season and it’s difficult to see them shutting down one of the most potent attacks in Europe.
Barcelona won at another Serie A outfit Inter in a largely academic last group game. This will however be a much different prospect with so much to play for. They seem to have settled well under coach Setien and will be looking to take control of the tie early. We expect an open game with plenty of chances for both teams. Our betting tips for the game are therefore: BTTS @ 1.54 and Goals Over 2.5 @ 1.65 and Lionel Messi Anytime Goal Scorer @2.04. You can find these odds and many other betting options at Betway.
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