Barcelona could look at certain tweaks to face Napoli – report


Barcelona's Spanish coach Xavi attends a training session with teammates on the eve of the UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg football match between Napoli and Barcelona at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on February 20, 2024.
Photo by CARLO HERMANN/AFP via Getty Images

Now that the win over Mallorca has been secured, FC Barcelona must look ahead to their next challenge. The league clash was mainly just an appetizer in the calendar for Barça, as they now load up for Europe. Up next for Barcelona is now a visit from Napoli at the Montjuic Stadium.

Even in his post-game celebratory post commending Lamine Yamal, Ilkay Gundogan made sure to mention the upcoming Napoli clash. Moreover, while the clash against Javier Aguirre’s team was ongoing, Xavi was present with his staff watching the game between Napoli and Torino.

The accumulation of these little details goes on to address and highlight the sheer importance of this clash. In terms of silverware, it is the only competition where Barcelona still have everything in their own hands. However, with the injury crisis at Barça, the lineup would be a huge dilemma for Xavi.

As such, Mundo Deportivo has taken it upon themselves to highlight which players could be likely to feature against the side from Naples on a night where the entirety of Barça’s season will arguably be at stake.

In goal, without any doubts for MD or for anyone else, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen starts. With three clean sheets in the last three games, the German goalkeeper will want to ensure that he can manage to do the same against Napoli as well.

Over in the defensive line, Ronald Araujo will make his return to the starting lineup. The Uruguayan was suspended against Mallorca but that would have given him enough rest to be fully fit for the Napoli encounter.

On either of the two flanks, Jules Kounde and Joao Cancelo should remain as the constants. However, Araujo’s partner in the heart of the defense still remains a mystery. Both Pau Cubarsi and Inigo Martinez will have their own claims, but it will ultimately be Xavi’s call to make.

The midfield will likely see some changes, however, from the setup that was used against Mallorca. While Raphinha should be available once again despite his injury scare, it would not be unusual to see Fermin Lopez replace him as the potential spearhead of the Barcelona midfield.

Lastly, in attack, if Xavi goes for a standard 4-3-3 the options should be pretty straightforward. For MD, Lamine Yamal would retain his place as the right-winger after a sensational goal against Mallorca. Alongside him, Robert Lewandowski would return to the starting lineup and would be accompanied by Joao Felix.

Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun
Raafay Humayun is a life-long fan of FC Barcelona and an avid enjoyer of all things Blaugrana. Having fallen in love with the club for the way they defined football for him, he now spends his time watching games, analyzing the happenings in them, and digesting any and everything related to his beloved Catalan club. He also writes as an author for Barca News Network hoping to deliver the latest updates to his fellow ‘culés’.

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