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Written By Onyeka Daniel

At the Allianz Stadium, Juventus will play host to Napoli with referee, Daniel Orsato in charge of proceedings from the centre. Juventus will be looking to get their momentum going with another positive result in this game as they look to give Inter Milan a challenge for the Serie A title this season and against the defending champions of the League, it will be indeed a match that will be the attention of fans and neutrals alike.

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Playing on Friday again gives Juventus another chance to go top before Inter play, as they managed a week ago. They were atop Inter on the table with their slender 2-1 victory over Monza last weekend. That result extended their unbeaten run to nine games, so a victory at home to reigning champions Napoli would temporarily lift them into top spot this Friday.

But against a Napoli side in dire need of points, it’s going to be harder than imagined. The Partenopei have been difficult opponents of late though for Juve, failing to win any of the last four meetings, losing three, including a 5-1 against the Neapolitans last season.


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But the defending champions have been struggling lately, with results not going their way and an injury crisis in the defense too, culminating in the 3-0 loss to Inter at their home ground last week.

That was Napoli’s biggest defeat at home to Inter since 1977, leaving them winless at home in their last six games at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium and 11 points adrift of Inter after just 14 matches.

That defeat also leaves them outside the top four after Roma’s win at Sassuolo prior to their clash with Inter, meaning their title defence is not going well at all, with Napoli already on their second manager of the season following Rudi Garcia’s sacking.

Style Of Play

For Massimiliano Allegri, there’s been a positive turn around in the team since switching to a back three, so he’s expected to stick to the 3-5-2 formation with more players expected to recover from injury, he will have more options to pick from. For Mazzarri, he has started out with the 4-3-3, but with his options very much reduced due to injuries, especially in the full-back positions, switching to a 3-man defense is not out of the question.

Whichever formation he goes with, it’s almost a given that he will have to play some players out of position. With Natan excelling in the left-back position against Inter, he will retain his place. It is on the right where the issue is and it’s also the area where Juventus carry the most threat with the electric pace of Filip Kostic. Hence, whoever the manager decides to play there, especially if Di Lorenzo doesn’t recover in time, will have to pay close attention to his opponent.

Recent Form

In their last 20 games played, Juventus have 13 wins, 3 losses and 4 draws. They’re also on a 9 games unbeaten streak, since that 4-2 loss to Sassuolo at this very same ground. For Napoli, they have 10 wins, 6 losses and 4 draws. Mazzarri will be hoping to make it two wins after four games since his second return after losing to Real Madrid and Inter Milan recently.

Head To Head

In a direct clash between the two teams, it’s been fairly even in their last 20 games played across all competitions with 9 wins each while 2 has ended in a draw. Last season, Napoli were dominant, winning both legs with a 1-0 win in this stadium, courtesy of last minute goal from Giancomo Raspadori.

Players To Watch

The partnership of Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa could prove decisive for the home side while Napoli will be hoping that their deadly duo, Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia can get back to that form that helped them win the Scudetto last season.

Juventus Possible Starting Lineup: Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Rugani; Cambiaso, McKennie, Nicolussi Caviglia, Rabiot, Kostic; Chiesa, Vlahovic

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Napoli Possible Starting Lineup: Meret; Rrahmani, Ostigard, Natan; Politano, Zambo Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Raspadori, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia

Injuries And Suspensions

Juventus will be without Mattias De Sciglio, Timothy Weah, Nicolo Fagiolo and Paul Pogba. Napoli will be without Mario Rui, M. Olivera and N. Zanoli in defense through injury. Team captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo is also doubtful for this encounter.

Verdict

Given the importance of points for the two teams, it will probably end in a shared point or a narrow win for Napoli (0-0 or 1-1).

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