By 90Min
August 05, 2019

Napoli will face Barcelona at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on Thursday for the first of two friendlies between the sides.


The meeting will be crucial preparation for both clubs with the start of both the Serie A and La Liga campaigns now under two weeks away.

GERARD JULIEN/GettyImages

Whilst there is little at stake in this fixture, the Catalan giants will want to put in a dominant display when the sides meet in Miami. It offers a chance for both sides to make tactical tweaks in a scenario where defeat matters little.

Both sides will want to end their pre-season on a high however, and here is what you need to know before the encounter.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off?                               Thursday 8 August                                                
What Time Is Kick Off? 00:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Hard Rock Stadium
TV Channel/ Live Stream? Premier Sports 1
Referee? TBC


Team News

The Barcelona squad is starting to take shape nicely. With crucial targets signed earlier in the summer, Ernesto Valverde has a huge range of talent to pick from.
 
Lionel Messi is set to return to the action after having an extended break following his involvement with Argentina in the 2019 Copa America. New signing Frenkie de Jong will hope to keep his place in Ernesto Valverde’s starting eleven after impressing against Arsenal.
Frenkie De Jong

Antoine Griezmann will also be eager to start from the off after featuring against the Gunners in a fairly quiet display.

For Napoli, this will be their sixth pre-season encounter of the summer, and therefore they should be the fitter of the two sides.

Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik and Amin Younes, all scorers for Napoli against Liverpool last month, will want to start as they bid to reach full fitness ahead of the new campaign.

Fabian Ruiz,Lorenzo Insigne

Carlo Ancelotti will look to use the majority of his squad, as he did against Marseille where he made six changes at half-time. However, Piotr Zielinski is one doubt after he pulled out of their most recent friendly with flu. Kalidou Koulibaly is back after his extended break but it is unlikely he will start.


Predicted Lineups


Napoli Meret; Hysaj, Manolas, Maksimovic, Rui; Callejon, Ruiz, Verdi, Younes; Insigne, Milik.
Barcelona Neto; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, De Jong, Puig; Messi, Griezmann, Dembele.

Head to Head Record


Napoli and Barcelona have met just twice in recent years, both in friendlies. Barcelona thrashed the Naples outfit 5-0 back in 2011 with Cesc Fabregas netting his first goal for the club that day.

Napoli dished out some revenge in 2014 in another pre-season fixture, winning 1-0. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs since then.

Cesc Fabregas,Gohkan Inler

Recent Form

Both sides lost their first pre-season outings but have since both recovered, with Napoli unbeaten in their last four matches, notably managing a brilliant 3-0 triumph over Champions League winners Liverpool.

Barcelona slumbered to a defeat against Chelsea in their first pre-season fixture but have since recovered well to beat Japanese side Vissel Kobe before turning over Arsenal 2-1 at Camp Nou last time out.

Antoine Griezmann

Whilst it's important not to read too much into pre-season form, both sides are starting to find their feet, and the intensity and pace of this week’s meeting should be at a higher level.

Here’s a look at the last five results of both sides.

Napoli FC Barcelona
Olympique Marseille 0-1 Napoli (4/8) Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal (4/8)
Liverpool 0-3 Napoli (28/7) Vissel Kobe 0-2 Barcelona (27/7)
Napoli 3-3 Cremonese (24/7) Barcelona 1-2 Chelsea (23/7)
Napoli 5-0 FeralpiSalo (19/7) Barcelona 1-2 Valencia (25/5)
Napoli 1-2 Benevento (13/7) Eibar 2-2 Barcelona (19/5)

Prediction

FBL-ESP-ENG-BARCELONA-ARSENAL

Whilst Napoli have more minutes under their belt thus far, Barcelona showed signs they were purring into life against Arsenal.

New signings De Jong and Griezmann should feel more comfortable in the shirt with their debuts and the nerves that can bring now out of the way. Messi will also be back in the frame and is expected to feature, meaning the Napoli backline will be in for a testing time.


Napoli will take courage from the fact they have kept back to back clean sheets, but facing Messi, Griezmann, Dembele and Suarez is a different proposition altogether.


Prediction: Napoli 1-3 Barcelona

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