Juventus vs Napoli
Juventus vs Napoli
Despite different starts to their seasons, Juventus and Napoli return from the winter break separated by only two places and five points in the Serie A table.
While fifth-placed Juventus prepare to renew the clubs’ rivalry having won five of their last six games across all competitions, their southern counterparts were beaten in three of their last five.
- Juventus resume with a handful of options unavailable. Giorgio Chiellini will not feature this week. The veteran defender isolates with Covid-19. Reserve goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio is also confined to quarantine while Kaio Jorge and Luca Pellegrini are out of action due to illness.
- As Leonardo Bonucci is doubtful due to a thigh problem, Matthijs de Ligt is set to join Daniele Rugani at the heart of the host’s defense.
- Federico Chiesa may start on the bench having been plagued by injury before the break. This leaves Alvaro Morata to lead the line with Federico Bernardeschi and Moise Kean in support.
- Hirving Lozano, Kevin Malcuit, Victor Osimhen, Alex Meret and Mario Rui have been affected by the latest wave of Covid-19. Also, they have a trio of players who headed for Cameroon and the Africa Nations Cup.
- Regular starters Andre Frank Anguissa and Kalidou Koulibaly join winger Adam Ounas out of the reckoning for at least the next fortnight. So, Luciano Spalletti could bring in bit-part players Faouzi Ghoulam and Stanislav Lobotka for the trip to Turin.
- In Osimhen’s absence, club record scorer Dries Mertens is set to start up front though Andrea Petagna is also available to provide a more physical option against Juve’s makeshift defense.
Two of the top three defensive sides in Serie A go head-to-head on Thursday. With a number of men missing at the back for both teams, there is likely to be little to choose between them.
Home advantage bestows a psychological edge to Juve as they routinely take points off Napoli at the headquarters. Also, the hosts’ squad is more bale to withstand the absences afflicting this fiercely fought contest.
Our prediction is Juventus 1-0 Napoli
Juventus: Szczesny, Cuadrado, Rugani, De Ligt, Sandro, Bentancur, Locatelli, Bernardeschi, Dybala, Kean, Morata.
Napoli: Ospina, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Jesus, Ghoulam, Demme, Lobotka, Politano, Zielinski, Insigne, Mertens.