MX23RW : Tuesday, April 23 12:27:33| >> :600:4292698:4292698:
Mar 3, 2019 at 7.30pm UK at ​Stadio San Paolo (Napoli)
Attendance: 42,667
Napoli
1-2
Juventus
Callejon (61')
Meret (25')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Pjanic (28'), Can (39')
Pjanic (47')

Preview: Napoli vs. Juventus - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Napoli's home Serie A clash with Juventus.

Juventus will travel to Napoli on Sunday night knowing that a win would see them take a huge step towards securing their 35th Italian league title and their eighth in succession.

Indeed, 13 points currently separate leaders Juve from second-placed Napoli, meaning that only a win will do for the home side as they desperately look to claw back some ground on Massimiliano Allegri's side.


Napoli

Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly pictured in September 2018© Reuters

It is difficult to be too critical of Napoli when considering that they have won 17 of their 25 league matches this season, suffering just three defeats to collect 56 points.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are nine points clear of third-placed Inter Milan, but trail Juve by 13 points due to the incredible form shown by the Italian champions, who are yet to lose in the league this term.

Since Juve won the reverse fixture 3-1 back in September, Napoli have only lost once in the league, with that defeat coming away at Inter Milan on Boxing Day. Their form in 2019 has been good, although three draws in their last five league matches has allowed Juve to pull clear at the summit.

Indeed, between January 26 and February 17, Napoli drew 0-0 on three occasions in the league, starting with AC Milan before sharing the points away to Fiorentina and at home to Torino.

The Naples club recorded a 4-0 victory away to Parma last weekend, though, and will be desperate to overcome Juve on Sunday evening, even if the result does little to harm Allegri's side in the long run.

No team have conceded fewer home Serie A goals than the Blues this term, having shipped just seven in their 13 matches, winning 10 of those and remaining unbeaten in the process.

Napoli have not actually beaten Juve in a home Serie A fixture since September 2015, but they did record a 1-0 win over the Old Lady in Turin last season and certainly have the credentials to harm the reigning champions.

Failing to progress into the last-16 stage of this season's Champions League was a huge disappointment for the Italian giants, but they will be keen to challenge for the Europa League and will take on Red Bull Salzburg in the next round of the competition.

It seems almost impossible to imagine Juve losing the title from this position, but a win for Napoli on Sunday night would certainly make it slightly more interesting in the race for the crown.

Recent form: WDWDDW
Recent form (all competitions): WDWDWW


Juventus

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Sassuolo on February 10, 2019© Reuters

Last weekend's 1-0 victory over Bologna made it 22 league wins for the campaign, leaving Juve clear at the summit. Allegri's side, as mentioned, are yet to taste defeat in the league this term and have both the best offensive and defensive records this term, scoring 53 times and conceding just 15.

However, the mood in the camp is not all smiles at the moment. Indeed, it would be fair to say that the Champions League is the trophy that Juve really want this season, but they face a huge task to make the quarter-finals following a 2-0 defeat at Atletico in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Wanda Metropolitano.

There will be no Coppa Italia for Juve this season, meanwhile, following their shock 3-0 loss to Atalanta BC at the end of last month. Should they fail to turn their last-16 tie around against Atletico on March 12 then they will be left with just the league title, which would not be considered a good campaign.

Before facing Atletico, Juve have two Serie A matches. Indeed, they will visit Napoli on Sunday night before welcoming Udinese next Friday ahead of the clash with Diego Simeone's side the following Tuesday.

Juve have comfortably the best away record in Italy's top flight this season, having won 11 and drawn one of their 12 games on their travels. It really has been a stunning league campaign thus far and they would effectively secure the title with a victory in Naples this weekend.

Allegri's future as head coach is far from secure, though, with the Italian's mentor, Giovanni Galeone, recently claiming that the Juve boss could walk away from his role at the end of the season.

Allegri has been in charge of Juve since 2014, winning an incredible four Serie A crowns, four Coppa Italia trophies and two Supercoppa Italiana titles since arriving at the club.

The 51-year-old has also led the team to two Champions League finals, but as mentioned above, the Old Lady face a big task to progress to the quarter-finals of this season's competition.

For now, though, their focus has to be on what is shaping up to be a fascinating clash with Ancelotti's team.

Recent form: WWDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): LDWWLW


Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Juventus on January 27, 2019© Reuters

Lorenzo Insigne is back in the Napoli squad after suspension ruled him out of the clash with Parma last time out.

Arkadiusz Milik is expected to get the nod over Dries Mertens in the final third of the field, while Allan and Fabian Ruiz will both keep their positions in the middle of the park.

Kalidou Koulibaly is widely regarded as one of the best centre-backs in world football, and the Manchester United target will be looking to put on a strong showing against the league leaders.

Cristiano Ronaldo had been seen as a huge doubt for Juve due to ankle problem, but the Portugal international has been declared fit and will start in the final third of the field.

Douglas Costa, Sami Khedira and Juan Cuadrado are all still out for the visitors, but Miralem Pjanic is expected to recover from illness to start in the middle of the park.

Federico Bernardeschi is pushing for a spot in the XI, but Rodrigo Bentancur is expected to get the nod in the middle of the park as Allegri looks to shut off the threat from the home side.

Napoli possible starting lineup:
Meret; Malcuit, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Hysaj; Callejon, Fabian Ruiz, Allan, Zielinski; Milik, Insigne

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo


Head To Head

Juve recorded a 3-1 victory in the reverse match earlier this season, while the Old Lady also ran out 1-0 winners when they travelled to Naples for the corresponding clash last term.

Napoli's last home league victory over Juve came in September 2015, while the team from Turin have won six of their last nine Serie A meetings, suffering just two defeats in the process.


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We say: Napoli 1-1 Juventus

Napoli have been very strong at home this season and we fancy Ancelotti's side to hold Juve to a low-scoring draw, which the visitors would surely take due to their position in the table.


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Who will win Sunday's Serie A clash in Naples?

Napoli
Draw
Juventus
Napoli
31.4%
Draw
14.3%
Juventus
54.3%
Leonardo Bonucci in action for Juventus on August 18, 2018
Read Next:
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1Liverpool35277179205988
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3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
4Chelsea35207859382167
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13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle35118163544-941
14Bournemouth35125184962-1341
15Burnley35117174462-1840
16Southampton3499164057-1736
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3594223065-3531
RFulham3565243376-4323
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535272069-4914

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