Napoli vs. Barcelona: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2014

FC Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez, center left, exercises during a training session at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in San Joan Despi, Spain, Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The stars of Barcelona and Napoli will clash at Switzerland's Stade de Geneve on Wednesday as both sides look to find an extra gear in their preseason trials.

The pair are unbeaten in their summer friendlies thus far, albeit having only played three games between them before the midweek meeting. They last met in 2011.

Barca triumphed 5-0 on that occasion, but Rafael Benitez's men will be hoping to make it a far more balanced affair this time around.

In a clash of Champions League standards, we bring all of the vital viewing information and a profile of the key players worth keeping an eye on in Wednesday's encounter.


Date: Wednesday, Aug. 6

Time: 7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET

Live Stream: beIN Sports Play (U.S., subscription required)

TV Info: beIN Sports 4 (U.S.)


Key Players to Watch

Napoli: Gokhan Inler

David Vincent/Associated Press

For close to three years now, Gokhan Inler has played the role of midfield general at the Stadio San Paolo with great efficiency, and his presence on Wednesday will be critical in limiting those creative assets under Luis Enrique's command.

The Swiss international impressed while on World Cup duty in Brazil this summer, with FourFourTwo indicating his influence in restricting Lionel Messi's impact during Switzerland's clash with Argentina:

Messi is yet to play a part in Barca's preseason preparations thus far, but after returning from holiday this week, there's a small chance he could make his return against the Italians.

However, with or without Messi, La Blaugrana's central playmakers are among the most gifted in European football. Unless Napoli can get a strong hold of possession, Inler will be looked upon to disarm and neutralise a great deal of the opposition's movement.


Barcelona: Jeremy Mathieu

Having seen his first minutes as a Barcelona player during a 1-1 draw against Nice on Saturday, Jeremy Mathieu will once again be inspected with extreme scrutiny against Napoli.

The Frenchman's move to the Camp Nou has been met with fierce debate this summer, such as broadcaster Paul Sarahs hinting at the fact Barca may have paid an inflated fee at €20 million:

Napoli will be a significant upgrade to the offensive threat that Nice posed over the weekend, and the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Goran Pandev and Gonzalo Higuain may all be present to assert some pressure.

This will be closer to the standard of attack Mathieu will be expected to keep at bay as a Barcelona player, and Wednesday will bring with it a firmer indication of whether the Catalans' purchase was on the money.