A meeting between Juventus and Napoli will be more than just another football match on Saturday as Partenopei travel to Turin to face the Old Lady for the first time since their transfer tussle over Gonzalo Higuain, who “betrayed” his former employers by choosing to sign for the Serie A champions.
Juve back in business
The 1-0 defeat at the hands of AC Milan might have raised some suspicions over Juventus’ title potential, knowing that this is the second time Juve have succumbed to loss against direct challengers after that 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan earlier in the season. Max Allegri’s men have however silenced their critics by another compelling performance which resulted in a 4-1 battering of Sampdoria in the midweek Serie A round, which reaffirmed Juventus’ ambitions and kept them top of the table two points ahead of AS Roma. BIanconeri went off to a great start against Doriani on Wednesday as they cracked the door open after only 4 minutes through Mandzukic. Giorgio Chiellini doubled the lead five minutes later with his first goal in the game, while Miralem Pjanic scored the third for Juventus five minutes after the hour mark. Chiellini ended the match with two goals next to his name as he put the game to bed after 87 minutes, thus completing an impressive display from Allegri’s men. Juventus head into the highly anticipated Napoli clash with a renewed sense of optimism and self-belief which could be of crucial importance for the Saturday’s match.
Patrice Evra and Mehdi Benatia are still unavailable for selection and won’t be able to help their team in the forthcoming game. Paulo Dybala is still nursing his thigh injury, while summer recruit Marko Pjaca is still someway off from return from fibula problem.
Can Napoli make it three on the trot?
October was not a particularly good month for Napoli, who struggled with three consecutive defeats to Atalanta, AS Roma in the Serie A and Besiktas at the international stage. Maurizio Sarri’s men have bounced back from the losing run with back-to-back wins over Crotone and Empoli, which will be a huge morale boost ahead of the trip to Serie A champions Juventus. Partenopei are well aware of the challenge which lies ahead of them, mostly as the forthcoming duel is bound to be an emotional affair for some. Napoli have lost their start striker Gonzalo Higuain during summer as the Argentine international opted to move to Juventus on a club-record deal thus leaving plenty of hearts broken down in the south. Napoli are getting ready to face title contenders eager to end the poor run of six matches without a win in Turin. Last time Partenopei managed to grab three points at Juventus in Serie A was back in 2009 and Sarri’s men are getting ready to beat both a quality team and a bad tradition in order to snatch three valuable points.
Summer arrival Milik is facing a lengthy layoff due to his knee injury, while Napoli travel to Turin without Raul Albiol who is suffering from a hamstring strain. Manolo Gabbiadini is under red card suspension and will not be able to help his team at this difficult trip.
Juventus have lost only two games this season, but both slumps came at the hands of direct title rivals which is enough of a reason for Bianconeri to be extremely careful heading into their duel with Napoli. On the other hand, Partenopei are yet to register a win at Juventus since 2009 and will have a big mountain to climb if they want to beat tradition for three points against Serie A leaders.
Top pick: Juventus 1.8 (4/5) @BetVictory
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 1.91 (10/11) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.00 (1/1) @WilliamHill