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Napoli v Barcelona: Tips, Predictions and Odds

Both Napoli and Barcelona have been enduring disappointing domestic seasons and will be desperate to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The Round of 16 first leg tie in Italy promises to be a tight affair as both sides look to put themselves in pole position for the second leg.


Napoli v Barcelona Predictions

Draw - 5/2

It is safe to say that this season has not lived up to expectations for either Napoli or Barcelona.

The pair were celebrating title wins last term, but have come back down to earth with a bump as both look out of the running for repeat success, with Napoli a whopping 27 points and eight places behind Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

Walter Mazzarri has been replaced at the Napoli helm by Francesco Calzona ahead of this game, with his team having kept just four home clean sheets in 18 matches this season.

They needed a last-gasp equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw with Genoa on Saturday, which is not ideal preparation for a visit from the Spanish giants.

Barcelona have also been underwhelming, although three wins in their last four matches have lifted spirits after manager Xavi’s shock announcement that he will be leaving at the end of the season.

They find themselves 12 points behind Real Madrid and, while they have improved in their domestic efforts, their away form in the Champions League has been poor, with six defeats suffered in the last eight occasions they have been on the road in the competition.

That run included away losses to Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp, so it is difficult to trust them to get the job done on Wednesday despite their improving domestic efforts.

So much rides on this two-legged affair that it would be no surprise if the tie got off to a cagey start and, with both teams having plenty to answer, there looks to be good value in backing the first leg to finish level.

Robert Lewandowski - Anytime Goalscorer - 7/4

Much of the attention will be on striker Victor Osimhen in Wednesday’s game, with the home fans desperate to see the Nigeria striker drag Napoli out of their slump and push them towards Champions League glory.

However, this looks to be a big ask for a player who has not been in action for his club since he was sent off in a 2-0 defeat at Roma just before Christmas and who had a rather underwhelming Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles reached the final where they were beaten by hosts Ivory Coast, but Osimhen found the net just once and that was in the opening game, a 1-1 draw against Equatorial Guinea.

Therefore, he may not hit the ground running if he returns to club duty in Wednesday’s clash.

So those looking for an anytime goalscorer bet may be better off looking at a familiar source and back Barca’s Robert Lewandowski to get on the scoresheet.

The Polish striker’s Champions League form has mirrored that of his team and it is a surprise that he has scored just one goal in this season’s competition, which came in a 5-0 home success over Royal Antwerp in their group-stage opener.

However, he has found some strong form in Spain with four goals in his last three games, including both in the 2-1 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend.

So with Barcelona desperate to take something back for the return clash, they should be able to depend on a reliable goalscorer at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium.

Read more football betting tips and predictions

Napoli v Barcelona Odds

Napoli - 8/5
Draw - 5/2
Barcelona - 13/8

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This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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