Despite this being a mid-table clash, the importance and seriousness of this fixture is huge especially with only one point separating them – Juventus are in 13th place while Napoli sit in 12th place in the league table.
While Napoli have been a bit inconsistent, Juventus have been shockingly poor. Winning this clash would serve as the ultimate morale booster for the upcoming games and also sooth many disgruntled fans.
Ever since the start of the campaign, things have gone from bad to worse for the away side. The Bianconeri have won only one game so far in the league and the 1-1 draw against 20th place Frosinone midweek further increased the speculation about coach Massimiliano Allegri’s future.
And although Napoli have also bagged all three points just once this season, they are slightly better off in terms of confidence and momentum as the home side are yet to taste defeat following their 2-1 loss to Sassuolo in the opening week.
One of Bianconeri’s biggest worries will be scoring goals – Allegri’s men have netted only five times. However, Allegri will take some positives from the fact that new loan signing Juan Cuadrado has settled in quickly and he could be an important catalyst in helping Juventus score.
In this regard, Napoli are in safe hands with coach Maurizio Sarri. His direct approach to the game has been well translated onto the pitch, with the Partenopei having scored 10 goals over the past 3 matches, in all competitions.
Another cause for concern for the Old Lady is their defence – well known for its tenacity and solidarity – that has kept only one clean sheet so far. They will have to be extra cautious when they line up against Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain, who already has four goals to his name.
Napoli have definitely improved in defence – no goals conceded in the last two league games – and Sarri will be more than happy to welcome back a rejuvenated Lorenzo Insigne, who has looked in fine form since the turn of the new season.
Due to a thigh injury sustained against Genoa last week, Bianconeri centre forward Mario Madzukic is ruled out of this clash while his partner upfront, Alvaro Morata, remains a doubt. Other notable absentees include Kwadwo Asamoah, Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio.
On the other hand, the home side have the opportunity to field a full-strength line up as they are without any injuries or suspensions to deal with.
Form Guide: Napoli (D-D-W-W-D) Juventus (L-D-W-W-D)
Expected Starting XIs
Napoli: Reina; Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Albiol, Hysaj; Hamsik, Jorginho, Allan; Insigne, Higuain, Mertens
Juventus: Buffon; Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci; Evra, Pogba, Hernanes, Lemina, Cuadrado; Dybala, Morata