One team will advance to the Europa League Round of 16 following Thursday’s match between Napoli and Barcelona. The first leg of the matchup at Camp Nou last week ended in a 1-1 draw. That means they are on level terms heading into the second at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday.
The winner will advance and likely be among the favorites to win the Europa League, while the loser will have their European season come to a disappointing end.
Last Game Records
As mentioned, last week’s match between Barcelona and Napoli ended in a 1-1 draw. These two clubs also met in the Champions League Round of 16 two years ago, with the Spanish giants advancing on a 4-2 aggregate with the two legs being played nearly six months apart because of COVID lockdowns.
In more recent action, Barcelona was a 4-1 winner over Valencia this past weekend, extending their unbeaten run to five matches. Meanwhile, Napoli needed a late goal to draw Cagliari 1-1 over the weekend, extending the unbeaten stretch for the Blues to six matches, albeit with three consecutive draws.
- 3:00 pm EST on Thursday, February 24, 2022
- Napoli, Italy
- Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Napoli vs Barcelona Betting Analysis
Napoli Betting Analysis
Napoli hasn’t tasted victory since February 6, enduring three consecutive draws, including last week’s 1-1 affair with Barcelona. That stretch has been disappointing in their domestic season, as the Blues remain two points off the pace in Serie A, although they sit comfortably in third place. Of course, Napoli has also gone six straight matches without a defeat, which bodes well for them heading into a match that they need to win one way or another to advance.
During their six-match unbeaten run, the Blues have conceded just four goals. It’s worth noting that the 17 goals they’ve allowed in 26 Serie A matches give them the best defensive record in Italy this season. Alas, Napoli is a little fortunate only to allow one goal last week against Barcelona after giving the Catalonians 67% of the possession.
On the other end of the field, the Blues only managed four shots with their 33% of the possession, spending most of the game trying to play on the counterattack. But with just three goals in their last three matches, Napoli needs to either be more aggressive or more clinical. The team’s attacking options are a little limited at the moment, which means Dries Mertens needs to step up and produce as the team’s leading scorer, especially with Lorenzo Insigne questionable to play.
Barcelona Betting Analysis
Despite settling for a draw with Napoli last week, Barcelona dominated possession and had more than enough chances to win the game. Xavi’s side was then able to build on that momentum by beating Valencia 4-1. The win kept Barca fourth in La Liga while extending their unbeaten stretch to five matches, including three wins during that stretch.
Perhaps more importantly, Barcelona has now scored 12 goals during that five-match stretch. Newly-signed striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang has made an immediate difference, scoring a hat trick in the win over Valencia. Last week’s game with Napoli was Aubameyang’s first start with Barcelona, so perhaps he has shaken off some of the rust of not playing much with Arsenal leading up to his January transfer.
On the other hand, Barcelona has only managed one clean sheet during its five-match unbeaten run. Even when they dominated possession against Napoli, they still got hit on the counterattack and conceded a goal. They have now given up 12 goals over their last seven matches across all competitions and are close to the middle of the pack in La Liga in goals conceded.
Many of the same players who missed last week’s game for Barcelona remain sidelined. That includes strike Memphis Depay, center-backs Samuel Umtiti, and Clement Lenglet, midfielder Sergi Roberto, and winger Ansu Fati.
On the other side, Napoli attacking players Hirving Lozano, Lorenzo Insigne, and Matteo Politano are injured, with Insigne picking up a muscle injury over the weekend. Right-back Kevin Malcuit and midfielders Stanislav Lobotka and Andre Zambo Anguissa are also sidelined for Napoli.
- Barcelona has not lost in five straight matches across all competitions.
- Napoli’s last three matches have ended in a draw.
- Barcelona has conceded multiple goals in four of its last seven matches across all competitions.
- Napoli has just one loss in its last nine matches across all competitions.
Napoli vs Barcelona Betting Preview
Napoli has its work cut out for it if the Italian side is going to turn the tables after last week’s first leg against Barcelona. The Spanish side dominated possession in that game and now have a confident striker after Aubameyang’s hat trick against Valencia. The Italian club can’t afford to let Barcelona dominate possession and dictate the pace of the game, especially at home.
In fairness, Napoli has been tough to beat and tough to score against all season, even if Barcelona should have put away more chances last week.
However, the Blues are also short-handed on the offensive end, with Insigne likely unavailable and Lozano still missing. That limits the number of potential match-winners that can get Napoli over the hump and onto the next round of the competition.
Napoli vs Barcelona Betting Prediction
The betting news for this match has Barcelona favored on the road with a moneyline around +145. Meanwhile, Napoli has a moneyline of +170 at home with a moneyline of +240 for a draw, which would require extra time and potential penalties.
As the lines indicate, this is Barcelona’s match to lose. Even if the Catalonian side has fallen from grace a little, going out this early in Europa League would be a massive disappointment and a somewhat shocking result. While Napoli is a tough team that will put up a fight, Barcelona is still more likely to get a goal when they need one, making a Barcelona victory the best betting option in this match.