How Juventus Will Line Up Against Napoli

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIINovember 8, 2013

BEIJING, CHINA - AUGUST 11:  Christian Maggio (L) of SSC Napoli challenges Gerald Asamoah of Juventus FC during the Italian Super Cup 2012 match at China's National Stadium on August 11, 2012 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Juventus have enjoyed a good run so far, and their fortunes in both Serie A and Champions League have taken a turn for the better.

Their hard-fought victory at Parma was made even more important when Roma dropped their first points of the season on Sunday.

The Bianconeri then earned a deserved point against Real Madrid at the Juventus Stadium, which was made to be even more significant when Galatasaray succumbed to a surprise defeat at Copenhagen.

Sunday's clash with Napoli is the first of two games between the sides that will probably have the largest impact on the destiny of the Scudetto this season—no matter how well the Giallorossi have started, the title remains a push at best.

Tied for second with the Partenopei, the Old Lady will be hoping to open up a gap in what should be the closest challenge to preventing a three-peat and that long-awaited, official, third star above the badge.

Antonio Conte has experimented in back-to-back games in Europe with a 4-3-3 formation against Real Madrid. This was mainly due to the wide threats from Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, although the suspension to Giorgio Chiellini played a small part too.

A return to a 3-5-2 system is probable, meaning that Chiellini should slot back into the left side of the defence, alongside Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli.

Chiellini is reported to have picked up a knock in training on Friday, according to Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia), which could give Angelo Ogbonna a further opportunity to establish himself as a starter for the Bianconeri.

With Stephan Lichtsteiner's injury continuing to pose a problem on the right side of the midfield, Conte must decide who to select between Mauricio Isla and Simone Padoin. Paul Pogba played there on one occasion as a substitute in the Champions League match with Galatasaray, but his form in the middle of the pitch has been too good to allow Conte to shift him out wide.

Martin Caceres could be a further option on the right; however, Uruguay have requested that El Pelado depart for international duty early, with La Celeste preparing for a crucial World Cup play-off.

Pogba has ousted Claudio Marchisio, who will not be starting for the Bianconeri unless the 4-3-3 system is carried out once again, so the 20-year-old Frenchman will continue to form a third of one of Europe's best midfielders—together with Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.

Kwadwo Asamoah is struggling for form and has never quite been comfortable stuck out wide, although the competition is not fierce enough to threaten his place right now.

Paolo De Ceglie is an interesting option though, and a player with great power and a willingness to drive at opponents and deliver crosses with greater regularity than the Ghanaian, but it seems as if Conte will persist with the former Udinese player.

Carlos Tevez has shown signs that an understanding between himself and Fernando Llorente is on the verge of blossoming in the absence of Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella.

But the Neapolitan forward has just returned from injury and is a particular favourite of Conte's, meaning that the Lion King will have to fight off Quagliagol for a start alongside El Apache.


Probable Line-up (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Angelo Ogbonna; Mauricio Isla, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Kwadwo Asamoah; Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez.