Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg Match Preview, Team News, Head-to-Head, Possible Lineups, and Dream XI Prediction

Napoli will welcome Barca at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for the Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 Round of 16 1st Leg Match.

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Abishek Goswami
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Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg Match Preview, Team News, Head-to-Head, Possible Lineups, and Dream XI Prediction

Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg Match Preview Image - X

Napoli and Barcelona will meet at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for the UCL 2023-24 Round Of 16 1st leg match. Napoli are coming after playing a 1-1 draw against Genoa in their latest Serie A fixture. Meanwhile, Barcelona are coming into the match after defeating Celta Vigo by 2-1 at home.

Napoli are struggling at the ninth spot of the Serie A table at the moment and have been inconsistent throughout this season. Barcelona are struggling too but still holding themselves in the third spot of the La Liga standings and have been very poor in all competitions. The defending Serie A and La Liga Champions are both in a huge mess which makes it more interesting.

Walter Mazzari was leading Napoli but after their draw against Genoa, Slovakia manager Francesco Calzona, a former Napoli coach arrived on a short-term deal until June, becoming the club's third head coach of the season. On the other hand, Xavi has already announced that he will leave the club at the end of this season. Both sides would like to change their fortune when they meet at the Diego Maradona Stadium for the first leg and Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys for the second leg.

Also Read: Reliving Barcelona's Golden Era: A Tribute to Footballing Brilliance

Match Details

  • Date: 22nd February, 2024

  • Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Naples

  • Time: 1:30 am (IST)

  • Referee: Felix Zwayer (GER)

  • VAR: Bastian Dankert (GER)

  • Live Streaming: IND - Sony Sports Network & Sony Liv

  • UK â€“ TNT Sports

  • US â€“  CBS Sports

Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg Match Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona  Image - Wikipedia
Napoli vs Barcelona UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg Match Venue: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona Image - Wikipedia

Napoli vs Barcelona: Head-to-Head in all Competitions

Barcelona have impressive records against Napoli on the European stage and have won five out of the eight matches played between the two teams. The previous meeting between Barcelona and Napoli in the UEFA Champions League took place in the 2019-20 season and it ended in a 4-2 aggregate victory for Barcelona.

The previous European meeting between the two teams took place in the 2021-22 edition of the UEFA Europa League and it ended in a 4-2 victory for Barcelona.

Barcelona have lost two of their last three matches against Italian opponents in the UEFA Champions League. They have won only one of their last 10 away games in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. So, Napoli have a pretty good chance to avoid a loss in their home.

  • Matches Played: 8

  • Napoli Won: 1

  • Barcelona Won: 5

  • Tied: 2

Form:

  • Napoli (in all competitions): L-D-W-L-D

  • FC Barcelona (in all competitions): L-W-W-D-W

Also Read: Preparing for Premier League Matches in London: A Visitor's Guide

Napoli vs Barcelona: UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg - Team News

Napoli

Francesco Calzona has a fully available squad. Piotr Zielinski, Mathías Olivera, and Alex Meret all recently returned from injuries, while Juan Jesus is back from a domestic suspension. Victor Osimhen is expected to start for Napoli in his first appearance for the club since December 23, having served a suspension before going away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Osimhen's return is also good news for Georgian winger Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, who was one of the best players in Europe last season but hasn't been the same this term. He would very much like to bring his A game for his side when they take on the Blaugranas at home.

The last year's quarter-finalists, Napoli finished as Group C runners-up in the Champions League this season, trailing eight points behind Real Madrid, who they were beaten by both home and away. Napoli don't have a good record against Barcelona but if they want to change to fate of their season, they will have to qualify for the Quarter-Finals.

"We're starting over as of today. We're resetting everything and beginning a new path. I'm here to give this team an identity."

Francesco Calzona (Napoli Head Coach)

"I've felt that this team is fully committed. We haven't done much talking as what we need at the moment is actions rather than words. We have little time so we have to speed up the learning process. I've told the players there are no excuses and we need to be loyal to ourselves."

The new Napoli head coach added

Napoli vs Barcelona: Francesco Calzona in the pre match press conference  Image - Napoli
Napoli vs Barcelona: Francesco Calzona in the pre match press conference Image - Napoli
"The Napoli fans are wonderful, but rather than asking them to help us, we need to be the ones captivating them and making them proud."

Calzona about the Napoli fans

Barcelona

The defending Spanish Champions finished level on points with Porto but secured the top spot through a favourable head-to-head record, having beaten the Portuguese Giant home and away despite defeats against Antwerp and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Joao Felix could return for Barcelona having overcome an ankle injury to take part in training on Monday. But, Xavi remains without Alejandro Balde, Gavi, Ferran Torres, and Marcos Alonso.

Vitor Roque might make his Champions League debut and the 16-year-old Lamine Yamal will be aiming to become the first player to score in the competition at that age.

Both could start alongside Robert Lewandowski, who hasn't scored a goal in four Champions League appearances this season but has scored in his last three league matches and is Barca's top scorer this season with 17 goals.

Barca have struggled all season for consistency, and Xavi is yet to prove himself as a coach in the continental stage. Napoli have never been weaker than they are now and the Balugranas can get a victory in Naples.

"We have enthusiasm and we're motivated to get to the quarterfinals. It's the perfect setting to play a great game and to show what we have worked hard for."

Xavi (FC Barcelona Head Coach)

"We have to prepare knowing that there are also 90 minutes to be played at Montjuïc. But that doesn't change our DNA. We have to defend well and possess the ball."

Xavi added

"Napoli have a very good side. They won Serie A last year. We are very excited because we haven't played this kind of game in two years."

Frenkie De Jong (FC Barcelona Midfielder)

Napoli vs Barcelona: Probable Lineups

Napoli: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Ostigard, Rrahmani, Mazzocchi; Anguissa, Lobotka, Cajuste; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Iñigo, Cancelo; Christensen, De Jong; Yamal, Gündogan, Pedri; Lewandowski

Napoli vs Barcelona: UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg - Dream XI Team Prediction

Napoli vs Barcelona: UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg - Dream XI Team Prediction
Napoli vs Barcelona: UCL 2023-24 RO16 1st Leg - Dream XI Team Prediction

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