Napoli vs Juventus: Serie A Preview & Potential Line-ups
Stadio Diego Armando Maradona forms the backdrop for a mouth-watering top-table Serie A six-pointer between Napoli and Juventus on Friday evening.
Although the new calendar year did not start well for Napoli, as they lost 1-0 at Inter Milan on January 4, the runaway Serie A leaders instantaneously got back to winning ways.
Goals from current Serie A top-scorer Victor Osimhen and Elif Elmas fired the Partenopei to a comfortable 2-0 win against a ten-man Sampdoria last time out, solidifying their place at the summit.
Despite being crowned the so-called 'Winter Champions' for the third time in eight years, the southerners cannot take anything for granted after losing the Scudetto race the last two times they were atop at this stage.
Indeed, it was non-other than Juventus to pip them to the title on both occasions, most recently doing so in 2017/18 under Massimiliano Allegri's stewardship.
Amends for a 2-1 defeat in this corresponding fixture last season could serve as a strong motive for Allegri's men, who have been on a tear in Serie A over the past few months.
Since a 2-0 defeat at defending champions AC Milan in October, they have strung together eight straight league wins 'to nil,' including a last-gasp 1-0 home triumph over Udinese last weekend.
While enjoying their rise to stardom, Juventus left the Rossoneri in their wake and are now only seven points adrift of pacesetters Napoli, highlighting the significance of this encounter.
Though they've gone unbeaten in their last two Serie A clashes against Juventus (W1, D1) and could make it three in a row without losing against them for the first time since 2011, Napoli cannot feel comfortable.
Luciano Spalletti's men are on a 33-year wait for the Scudetto, so even though they've defeated Allegri's team in their last three home league duels, there's still a mental barrier they need to overcome.
Playing at the Maradona could be helpfull because they've yet to taste a league defeat at home this season, having won seven of their opening eight Serie A outings in Naples (D1), including the last six on the trot.
Juventus are back in the saddle following a topsy-turvy season start, with their confidence skyrocketing on the back of four successive away league victories by an identical 1-0 scoreline.
Capable of flourishing in evenly-contested, low-scoring affairs, the record-time Italian champions will fancy their chances in Naples, where they last won in 2019.
However, Allegri's men could find themselves in a precarious position should Napoli get on the scoresheet, at least based on their underwhelming scoring average of 0.62 goals per Serie A travel.
Napoli vs Juventus Potential Line-ups
Napoli (4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-jae, Juan Jesus, Mario Rui; Stanislav Lobotka, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Piotr Zielinski; Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Matteo Politano, Victor Osimhen.
Juventus (3-5-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Gleison Bremer, Alex Sandro; Filip Kostic, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Weston McKennie, Federico Chiesa; Angel Di Maria, Arkadiusz Milik.