Predicted XIs Napoli-Barcelona: Xavi Hernandez to set up defensively for Francesco Calzona’s debut

Barcelona are back in action in the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in three years this evening, and will take on Napoli at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona at 21:00 CEST. Xavi Hernandez has been under severe pressure in recent weeks, and is expected to part with caution for the clash.

According to Sport, they believe that it will be a side with four central defenders and three central midfielders, albeit with Andreas Christensen pushing forward to fill the pivot role again. Lamine Yamal and Robert Lewandowski will lead the line, supported by Pedri.

Las posibles alineaciones del Nápoles - FC Barcelona

With no natural left-back fit, Joao Cancelo will reprise his role on that side, while Jules Kounde is expected to continue at right-back. MD believe that Xavi will spring a surprise in that regard, shifting Araujo outside to deal with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, and maintaining 17-year-old Pau Cubarsi in the backline. Sergi Roberto and Joao Felix are back from injury and expected to be on the bench. Gavi, Alejandro Balde, Marcos Alonso and Ferran Torres are all out.

Meanwhile the Napoli line-up is something of an unknown given it is Francesco Calzona’s first match, after being appointed on Monday. Victor Osimhen is likely to be back despite dealing with some physical problems. He and Kvaratskhelia are likely to be backed by a demanding midfield trio of Stanislav Lobotka, Frank Zambo Anguissa and Hamed Traore. Piotr Zielinski and Leandro Dendoncker are unavailable as they were not registered for the competition.

Previa del Barça en Nápoles

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