Preview: Napoli vs Juventus – prediction, team news, lineups
Bitter rivals from both sides of Calcio’s North-South division, Napoli, and their old foes, Juventus, square off on Saturday night as Serie A resumes.
The Bianconeri arrive at Stadio Maradona after a punitive loss to promoted Empoli just before the international break, putting the post-Ronaldo era off to a losing start, while their hosts secured maximum points in their first two matches.
After a frenzied period of speculation, claims, and counterclaims, Juventus saw their attacking talisman and last season’s Capocannoniere depart for Manchester late last month, and events just hours later confirmed that their ongoing troubles could continue. in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite their best efforts to bring down an enterprising visiting team, Juve fell to a surprising 1-0 home loss to Serie B champion Empoli, which continued to hot on the heels of a second-half collapse on the opening day of the 2021-22 campaign.
On matchday one, Max Allegri’s team finally left Udine with just one point as they blew a two-goal lead to tie it 2-2, with Ronaldo making what turned out to be his last appearance from the bench.
Champions for nine consecutive seasons before last year’s capitulation to Inter, this season Juve are certainly under pressure to produce, but they are already faltering and in danger of matching a negative club record.
In their previous 51 Serie A campaigns, in 2015-16 alone the Bianconeri failed to win any of their first three league games, and in total, Allegri has now failed to win their last seven matches in charge, including the final. from his previous blockbuster spell.
Only three coaches in the history of the Turin giants have suffered a longer winless streak in Serie A, the most recent being Carlo Parola, in 1974.
Therefore, their current coach will be determined to get back on the winning track in one of the highest-profile games of this or any Serie A season, in a showdown that still bears the enmity distilled in the days of Diego Maradona.
The unrest between Juventus and their southern rivals flared up again last October, as the first meeting scheduled for the 2020-21 season between the pair was controversially canceled on short notice when Napoli did not appear, with their entire team quarantined. by the Neapolitan health authorities.
Initially handing over a 3-0 loss, as a result, Partenopei later received a pardon after their third appeal against the decision saw the sanction overturned and a penalty point reversed.
That encounter finally took place in April, when Juve clinched a 2-1 victory in Turin, with the spoils shared in the other two meetings between the clubs last season: Napoli prevailed in the other league match; Juventus has crowned the winner of the Italian Super Cup.
As they prepare for another shot at Juve this weekend, now in front of their passionate fans, the Azzurri can rely on back-to-back victories before the international break, as they beat Venice on opening day despite being one man down. much of the match then beat Genoa through a late goal from Andrea Petagna.
Thus, head coach Luciano Spalletti had led his new team to eight straight victories, including preseason friendlies, but a small team devoid of internationals largely lost a practice game to their Campania counterpart Benevento. , earlier this week.
That will matter little when Spalletti returns to Maradona, where captain Lorenzo Insigne, who has just returned from Italy, will aim to continue his scoring streak against the Old Lady. The diminutive forward has scored in each of his last three league games against Juventus, his best record against a single Serie A opponent.
Napoli possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Manolas, Koulibaly, Rui; Anguissa, Elmas, Ruiz; Politano, Osimhen, Insigne
Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Kulusevski, Locatelli, Rabiot, Bernardeschi; Morata, Kean