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Napoli vs BarcelonaFebruary 21, 2024, 3:00 PM ET
Napoli odds+179
Barcelona odds+154
Over\Under2.5 -130\+110

Napoli vs Barcelona. Shape of the Teams

On the surface, this should be one of the most exciting clashes of the week. Napoli and Barcelona are both defending league leaders at home and have a decent squad on paper.

But the reality paints a different picture: Napoli is languishing in ninth place in the Serie A, while Barcelona is struggling in third place in La Liga. This stark contrast shows how quickly tendencies can reverse in the world of soccer, with these two teams epitomizing the dramatic swings in fortune that the sport can witness.

Napoli’s saga is particularly striking. Despite not making a deep run in the Champions League as expected, they comfortably won the league title with a large advance. 

With the brilliance of players like Osimhen and ‘Kvaradona’, supported by talents such as Kim (who has since transferred to Bayern) and Zielinski, Napoli was the story of a possible superpower. 

But quickly, tensions started to appear. This was the case with Osimhen’s contract negotiations, in which club president De Laurentiis had a conflict with the player’s camp, eventually leading the club down further. 

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Ex-legend Materrazi was then called up to lead the group but failed to turn the tide. Just yesterday, the Italian club announced his dismissal and the appointment of Francesco Calzona.

Calzona is a former player with a modest coaching resume. His only major stint came with the Slovenian National Team, which fell short of impressing. 

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One wonders what’s going on behind the scenes at Napoli – many still remember the weird video posted on TikTok by the club’s account on Osimhen, deemed racist by many.

Right, so that’s Napoli. Transitioning from champions to mid-table contenders, suffering from internal battles, and a coach sacked mid-season just ahead of the Champions League battle against Barcelona. 

What about the Catalans? Napoli makes them look like Gods, but they are not exactly brilliant either. Barcelona just lost the opportunity to leapfrog Girona in the standings, a team that just lost twice in a row: 0-4 vs Real Madrid and 2-3 vs Athletic Club. 

However, Barcelona was caught by surprise by Granada (19th in the league) in a 3-3 draw and suffered a heavy 5-3 loss against Villarreal (13th in the league).  

The 2-1 victory against Celta Vigo last weekend might seem liberating, but it also posed several questions about the team’s current situation. 

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As Xavi Hernández will not stay beyond the summer, Barcelona’s quest for a successor continues – not an ideal situation for continued success.

Barcelona vs Napoli Match Info

Barcelona vs Napoli Prediction, Odds

The betting odds place Barcelona as the favourite, which is not surprising. But how do you predict a tie that does not revolve around who’s the better team but about who’s in the worst state? 

Both teams, structurally speaking, in terms of management and current playing state, are absolute car wrecks – Napoli just fired its manager! 

However, it seems that Barcelona has not fallen as low as Napoli (yet), and Xavi Hernández will likely stay till summer. But this also makes it hard to understand what we can expect from this team. 

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Barcelona away from home in Europe is a volatile chicken that flies according to the direction of the wind. On paper, Kvaradona & Osimhen should be able to finish this defence off, but in reality, their recent form suggests expecting such an outcome might be overly optimistic.

As such, Barcelona should be the favourite, though I would not exclude a draw. The reality is they’re ‘less bad’, and nobody knows what to expect when there’s a new manager, especially when the new man is unknown on the world stage.

Napoli vs Barcelona Betting Tip

The safest bet probably involves Lewandowski. After a rough patch that essentially lasted an entire year, he finally found a match to convince Barcelona fans against Celta Vigo. 

It wasn’t just his goals that caught the eye; the Pole looked more logical in his movements and interactions – something that had always been expected of him. Following his recent display, I would come to the conclusion he’s the likeliest to score. 

Despite the prodigious teenager Yamal becoming the major creative force of the team, I doubt he will play 90 minutes again. At his young age and considering the number of games he has played recently, one would think Xavi Hernández would try not to overplay him to avoid cases like Pedri and Gavi. 

Barcelona has waited 365 days for Lewandowski to come back in form, just in time for the most important run of the season. This period will decide the team’s fate in Europe and the European spots at home. Barcelona needs a good stretch, and 

this is the time Lewandowski should stand up and lead a team that’s still fairly young.

He has not been the leader many thought he would be, often complaining that he does not get enough chances in the media. Recently achieving the fifty-goal milestone with Barcelona, he now has the perfect opportunity to redefine his legacy at the club by leading their charge at this crucial moment.

Disclaimer: Odds are accurate at the time of posting and subject to change. Please verify the latest odds on our platform before betting.

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