Prediction and odds for the game: Napoli (17/10) vs Barcelona (8/5)
We are backing the away win
When: Thursday 24 February 2022, kick-off 20:00
Where: The Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
On Thursday night, Napoli host Barcelona in the Europa League’s last-32 second leg. The tie is on a knife-edge after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
The Azzurri have experienced three straight draws in all competitions. A 1-1 draw at Cagliari was particularly disappointing, as a win would have taken Luciano Spalletti’s team to the summit of the Serie A table. As it stands, the Neapolitans sit third in the Serie A table, two points adrift of league leaders Inter.
Not only is the race for the Scudetto a close one, but this tie is also a close-run thing, with the first leg producing a low-scoring draw. Unlike Barcelona, Napoli started the season in the Europa League.
Spalletti’s team experienced mixed fortunes in the Europa League group stages, although three victories were enough to send book their place in the last-32 of the competition. Napoli have a good recent home record in the Europa League, as they have won four of their previous six home matches in the competition.
The Catalan giants recorded an impressive 4-1 win at Valencia last time out. The victory saw former Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score a hat-trick. The team really seem to have bought into Xavi’s football philosophy and the visitors are now unbeaten in their last 13 matches over 90 minutes in all competitions.
Xavi’s team has certainly found their shooting boots of late, as they have now scored at least two goals in three of their last four matches in all competitions.
The Europa League is an alien concept to Barcelona, who are more accustomed to playing in the Champions League. In fact, before the first leg of this tie, Barcelona had not featured in this competition since the days of the UEFA Cup back in 2004. Their history in the competition means very little, but the Blaugrana have now failed to win any of their previous three games in the competition.
Both teams have other more pressing priorities than the Europa League. However, a win in this clash would certainly add a bit of momentum for the winner of the clash. Napoli’s recent form has not been overly convincing, while Barcelona seems to be improving with every game under club legend Xavi. We are backing Barcelona to record another victory and continue moving forward in the right direction.
The other bet we are backing is for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be an anytime goalscorer. The veteran forward looked sharp against Valencia and will only get better now he is settled and match fit in Catalonia.
Our Tips: We are backing Barcelona to record a victory at odds of 8/5 and/or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be an anytime goalscorer at odds of 11/8. (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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Will Napoli or Barcelona progress into the last-16 of the Europa League?