Prediction and odds for the game: Napoli (21/10) v Barcelona (6/5)
We are backing the draw at odds of 5/2
When: Tuesday 25th February 2020, Kick-off 8 PM
Where: Stadio Sao Paolo
On Tuesday night, Napoli will look to gain a potential vital advantage in the Champions League, as they host Catalan giants Barcelona in a big first-leg encounter.
The Italian side head into this clash in good form. A 2-1 win over Brescia last time out means that the home side has recorded three straight wins in all competitions, and six wins in their last seven competitive matches. It has certainly been a major turnaround for the team from Naples after a terrible start to their campaign.
Napoli finished the group stages of the Champions League unbeaten, despite their poor early season results in Serie A. The home side have also lost just once in their last 12 games in Europe’s elite competition dating back to 2018.
They qualified from a group including European champions Liverpool, Salzburg and Genk. The fact that they took four points off runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool was impressive.
Napoli have an impressive recent home record in the Champions League, as they are unbeaten in seven matches, having recorded five victories. They have also lost just one of their last ten matches on home soil in Europe’s elite competition.
The Catalan giants have been one of the favourites to win the Champions League since the start of the season. The reigning Spanish champions moved back to the top of La Liga at the weekend with a 5-0 drubbing of Eibar at the Nou Camp.
The visitors came through the group stages unbeaten, having recorded four victories. The likes of Internazionale, Dortmund and Slavia Prague failed to get the better of the Catalan giants. Barcelona have been formidable opponents in this competition, having lost just one of their last 18 matches in the Champions League. Their only defeat in that run came in last season’s semi-final against Liverpool, losing 4-0 at Anfield after a 3-0 home victory.
Their record Champions League matches have been relatively high-scoring, as four of their last five matches have produced over 2.5 goals.
Barcelona have a slightly inconsistent recent record away from home in the Champions League, although they are unbeaten in three away matches, having won their last two matches on their travels.
A few months ago, Napoli would have been far easier opposition for Barcelona to face. However, the home side has found form of late under Gennaro Gattuso and are looking in confident mood. Barcelona are the favourites to record a win, but we fancy the home side to nick a draw. We are also backing the over 2.5 goals scored, as both teams have been involved in high-scoring games, both domestically and in the Champions League.
Verdict: We are backing the draw at odds of 5/2 and/or over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 8/11. (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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