Juventus will be looking to continue their march toward a third successive Serie A title as they take on Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday evening.
Can Napoli end Juventus' unbeaten run? Who do you think will win?
Naples remains one of the most difficult places to visit in Serie A, and Antonio Conte’s side will have to be at their sparkling best if they are to take the three points back to Turin.
The same level of focus will need to be applied by the Partenopei, who themselves have been a little inconsistent as of late. Napoli currently occupy the third and final Champions League spot and are currently 10 points clear of Fiorentina, who are in fourth. Rafa Benitez will be looking for his side to secure that spot with a strong performance in this fixture.
The Bianconeri come into this one having won their last seven games in a row; they haven’t lost in their previous 22 Serie A games, per WhoScored.com.
Here’s all the information you need on where to catch the game and what to expect from this clash between two of Italy’s most illustrious outfits:
Date: Sunday March 30
Time: 7.45 p.m. BST
TV: Live on BT Sports
Stream: BT Sports App
Napoli: (4-2-3-1) Reina; Henrique, Fernandez, Albiol, Ghoulam; Inler, Jorginho; Callejon, Hamsik, Insigne; Higuain
Juventus: (3-5-2) Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Pogba, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah; Llorente, Osvaldo
Juventus will be without their talisman Carlos Tevez for this one, and that will be a major blow given the sparkling recent form showcased by the Argentinean. Tevez netted a brace to help put an end to Parma’s remarkable 17 game unbeaten run, but it’ll be up to the rest of his teammates to find a way past Napoli.
The former Manchester City man has netted 18 goals this season, per WhoScored.com, and his suspension means Conte looks likely to go with an unchanged side at the San Paolo. The Juventus boss has had to deal with a host of injuries as of late and has paid tribute to his squad, per Sky Sports:
I'm running out of words of praise for these lads, eight out of 11 are on their fifth consecutive game.
Some need to take a breather, but they can't - this is the worst injury situation I've had since I've been here.
Whilst Juve will be without their star striker, Napoli will be welcoming back theirs. Gonzalo Higuain was only on the bench for his side’s most recent 4-2 win at Catania, but he is expected to lead the line here against a Juventus defence that has been ravaged by injuries.
Napoli boss Benitez insists that despite being six points off AS Roma, they have not yet given up hope of catching the Giallorossi, per Sky Italia (h/t Goal.com):
Our objective continues to be targeting Roma in second.
We have to do our work, continue winning and see where we end up. After the Juve game this weekend we'll have only one match per week and it'll be easier for us.
The former Liverpool boss was also quick to play down the absence of Tevez, insisting that “all of their forwards are of the highest level.” The Spaniard also made a strange quip about the amount of money spent by Sunday’s opponents:
Benitez: “… when you have more money, it’s easier to win.” Napoli gross spend 100.7m euro. net -29.5m. Juventus gross 31.8m, net +5.9m.— James Horncastle (@JamesHorncastle) March 29, 2014
Money spent or not, this Juventus side are on the brink of breaking a host of Serie A records. They’ve won every game at home this season and could yet set the record for the most away wins in a season too, per James Horncastle of BT Sport. If they win their remaining eight games, they’ll finish the season on 102 points, another Serie A record.
But without Tevez and with a host of injuries, this will be a tough game against the Neapolitans. They’ve only been beaten twice at home all season, and their notoriously raucous supporters will create an extremely hostile atmosphere for the hosts.
With Higuain back, Napoli could trouble this patched-up defensive line. If they can start well and put this leggy Juve side under pressure, then they have a great chance of ending their magnificent winning run.
Despite the loss of Tevez and despite the injury crisis, it’s still so difficult to see Juve losing a game. This one looks like a nailed on draw, a result that you suspect both sides would be pretty happy with.
Prediction: Napoli 1-1 Juventus