Juventus v Napoli
Serie A Match Preview
It’s the big one in Italy on Saturday night, as the top two in Serie A go head to head at the J Stadium in Turin in front of a worldwide television audience.
JUVENTUS SET A NEW CLUB RECORD AGAINST FROSINONE
A routine 2-0 win away at Serie A new boys Frosinone would not usually be the cue for huge celebration, but last weekend’s victory was the 14th consecutive for Juventus who set a new club record. Now it’s time for the game that the whole of Italy is calling a “potential title decider,” as leaders Napoli head into town. The Bianconeri have the best defence in Serie A and with goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in exceptional form (unbeaten in his last five matches) coach Massimo Allegri will be confident his side can beat the current table-toppers and head to the summit themselves for the first time this season. In striker Paulo Dybala, they have a player at the very top of his game and having already netted 13 times in the championship already, will be looking to add to his tally on Saturday night. The best football betting guides quote him at *6.00 to open the scoring this weekend.
FREE-SCORING NAPOLI ALL FIRED UP FOR CRUNCH CLASH
They are by far the most entertaining team in Serie A this season and Napoli head to Turin for Saturday’s showdown full of confidence. The Vesuviani have rifled in 53 goals already in this campaign, with super striker Gonzalo Higuain scoring 24 of them in 24 appearances; equalling the record set by the great Diego Maradona in the late 1980’s. With Neapolitan born play-maker Lorenzo Insigne providing the ammunition for him, the Argentine will look to surpass the double Scudetto winner and fellow countryman on Saturday, by netting 25 from 25 and scoring in his seventh consecutive game. One of the best football bets of the weekend, could be the *11.00 currently being offered for him to score 2 or more against the Old Lady.
A huge blow to Juventus ahead of the weekend is the news that inspirational defender Giorgio Chiellini will be out for nearly three weeks with a leg injury picked up in last weekend’s win. This may also lead to a tactical switch at the back for Allegri, who may abandon his tried and trusted back-three to revert to a more orthodox back-four. Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic, is also not back to full fitness after his lay-off, with German midfielder Sami Khedira also having to be content with a watching brief on Saturday.
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has no such worries and will be able to field a fully strength team at the J Stadium. Higuain will be joined up front by Insigne and Spaniard Jose Callejon, who celebrated his 29th birthday this week. Another birthday-boy, Christian Maggio, will drop back to the bench this weekend as Elseid Hysaj returns from suspension to take up his defensive duties.
Juventus (from) Buffon, Evra, Bonucci, Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Pogba, Marchisio, Sturaro, Cuadrado, Neto, Dybala, Morata, Lemina, Rugani, Padoin, Hernanes,Alex Sandro, Pereyra, Zaza, Favilli
Napoli (from) Reina, Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj, Allan, Jorginho, Hamsik, Rafael, Gabriel, Chiriches, Maggio, Higuain, Insigne, Callejon, Strinic, Gabbiadini, Mertens, Valdifiori, David Lopez, Chalobah, El Khaddouri
HEAD TO HEAD
The two sides have met 139 times in Serie A with Juventus way ahead on 63 wins to Napoli’s 30. The Bianconeri also have the upper hand on goals scored against their Southern rivals, 205 to 152. The hosts will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to 15, whilst the visitors will hope to record their ninth straight win. Napoli has also won seven times on the road this season, the best of any club in Serie A although their last league win in Turin against Juventus, was back in 2009. The first meeting between the two in September finished in a 2-1 win for Sarri’s men.
Juventus 2.10 Draw 3.30 Napoli 3.75
*odds courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell