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Barcelona will be welcoming SSC Napoli this week, as the first leg of the knockout stage kicks off in the ongoing Europa League season.
Barcelona will be pretty disappointed with it’s performance in this season. The team finished at the third spot in the Group E of Champions League, losing out to Benfica, which finished a point ahead at second spot. The fans of the Catalan club will see this as a humiliation, as it is forced to feature in it’s first ever Europa League game. The team has also crashed out of Copa del Rey, and are languishing at the 4th spot in the La Liga, with just 39 points. They have almost zero chance of catching up with leaders Real Madrid, who are 15 points ahead. Talking about the recent form, the team has shown a slight improvement, and are unbeaten in it’s last 3 outings, winning 2 of them. This run however comes on the back of two consecutive losses against Real Madrid and Athletic Club in January.
Napoli will be featuring for a record equalling 9th time in the Europa League knockout stages, after finishing second in Group C, behind Spartak Moscow. The team is unbeaten in it’s last 4 games, all of which were played in the Serie A. As a result, the team is comfortably placed in the third place, just two points behind leaders AC Milan. The last game that Napoli played before they visit Barcelona was played at home, and ended in a draw. Spalletti will definitely look for a better finish this time around, and gain an upper hand.
Match prediction and betting tips for F. C. Barcelona vs SSC Napoli Europa League 2021-22. The match is going to be played at Camp Nou, Barcelona, on 17th February 2022.
Barcelona has failed to advance to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years, and coach Xavi will be looking for some consolation by winning the Europa League. He will be without the services of Alejandro Balde, Ansu Fati, Samuel Umtiti and Sergi Roberto. Ronald Araujo and Dani Alves too will most likely miss out.
Napoli will be without Matteo Politano, Lozano and Axel Tuanzebe are unlikely to make the trip to Barcelona. Spalletti is likely to start with a 4-3-2-1 formation for this key clash, as he looks to ward of any threats from the Barcelona forwards.
We expect this to be a cracker of a contest. While Napoli would have been no match for Barcelona in the latter’s heydays, the fact that Barcelona are low on confidence will make this game an engaging watch, with none of the teams having a clear advantage.
Bet on a draw.