FC Barcelona

Predicted Barcelona Lineup vs Napoli

Barcelona travel to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to face Napoli in the Champions League last 16 first-leg clash first leg on Wednesday evening.

The Catalan outfit topped Group H, winning four games and pipping FC Porto on head-to-head record after the pair both posted 12 points from six matches. A 5-0 annihilation of Royal Antwerp was followed by wins over Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, but then they lost two of the next three games.

Xavi Hernandez’s side have been inconsistent throughout the season and remain off the pace in La Liga’s title race. However, the Spanish champions head to Italy off the back of a last-gasp league win over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Barcelona Team News

Barcelona have received a double injury boost ahead of the trip to Napoli, with Joao Felix and Sergi Roberto included in the travelling squad. Alejandro Balde, Gavi and Marcos Alonso are long-term absentees. Ferran Torres is on the comeback trail but will not feature in midweek.

Predicted Barcelona lineup vs Napoli (4-4-2)

Goalkeeper

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is Barcelona’s undisputed No.1 and should start against Napoli. He will be desperate to buy a clean sheet in Italy.

Defence

Jules Kounde and Joao Cancelo should take up the right-back and left-back slots, respectively. They will be looking to make contributions in the final third as well as defensively.

Ronald Araujo is expected to start after surviving an injury scare that forced him to be replaced at half-time against Celta Vigo. The Uruguayan will partner Inigo Martinez at the heart of Barcelona’s defence, with Xavi Hernandez option for the Spanish defender’s experience over the youthfulness of Pau Cubarsi in such a big game.

Midfield

Andreas Christensen has operated in the pivot role efficiently in the last few games, and Xavi is set to stick with the Dane. Ilkay Gundogan enjoyed a rare rest at the weekend but he is guaranteed to return to the first XI for this game.

Gundogan and Frenkie de Jong, who played the full game against Celta Vigo, will be flanking Christensen in the middle of the park. Pedri will be the fourth midfielder for the visitors, bringing creativity and energy from the left flank.

Attack

The four-midfielder system leaves only two spots up front. Robert Lewandowski scored a brace against Celta last weekend to take his tally to 17 goals for the season, making him a sure-fix starter in attack. The Pole will lead the Barcelona attack and should be aided by teenager Lamine Yamal, who has quickly become perhaps the most important player in Xavi’s side.

On the bench, Raphinha, Vitor Roque and Fermin Lopez are likely to be Xavi’s first choices to change things up when required.

Rohan Sengupta

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