Our football scribe previews the mouth-watering Serie A clash between Napoli and Juventus.Round 30 of the Italian Serie A includes one of the most highly-anticipated matches of the season. Napoli play host to an ever-improving Juventus side, who refuse to be dethroned as the kings of Italy.
The five-time consecutive champions lead the third-placed Napoli by 10 points and should Juve claim maximum points here, Napoli might as well count themselves out the title-race. Recent meetings between these sides have proved to be high-scoring, so you can expect a thrilling contest. Let’s take an in-depth look at the Italian blockbuster of the weekend.
Napoli vs Juventus | Italian Serie A | Sunday 2 April | Stadio San Paolo | 20:45
To Win (90 Mins)
Napoli 29/20 | Draw 22/10 | Juventus 37/20
Gli Azzurri come into this title-rival clash off the back of a scintillating five goal thriller at Empoli. Napoli left the Stadio Carlo Castellani with a 3-2 victory, extending their winning run to three consecutive matches.
Napoli have been excellent on home soil with 10 wins from 15 matches. The problem they have been facing all season is their leaky defence, however, something Juventus can happily exploit at any given time. It’s a matter of attacking the game, while maintaining organisation and solidity in their backline.
Dries Mertens has been a revelation in that false no. 9 role this season. The small yet stocky Belgian is currently tie on 20 league goals with Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi, just one behind Edin Dzeko and two behind the league’s top scorer Andrea Belotti.
Mertens is blessed with quick feet, dazzling ball skills and an excellent burst of pace. He will be supported by Lorenzo Insigne, whose eye for goal, pace and power make him a key player to this team. Adding to the attacking prowess of Napoli is the ever-present Marik Hamsik.
The Slovakian attacking-midfielder is gifted with creativity, vision, and silky passing. His 10 goals, Insigne’s 12 and Mertens’ 20 make up nearly 50% of Napoli’s goals for the season, so Juventus will need to keep a close eye on the trio.
Juventus look unstoppable this season and a sixth straight championship looks highly likely with just nine rounds of Serie A football to go. Roma and Napoli are keeping the pressure on the Old Lady but the defending champions are looking composed and hungry for success.
Juve are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions with 13 victories in the process. The Old Lady have won all their home games, while they have been superb on their travels with nine wins from 14 matches.
Juventus have an abundance of talent at their disposal with only Gonzalo Higuain on double digits in terms of goals (19). The rest have come from all over the pitch. It’s been a case of extraordinary hard work and a valiant team effort.
Higuain is supported by the attacking trio of Juan Cuadrado, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic. That is a near perfect combination of speed, skill, power, aerial threat and vision, with all three players possessing a keen eye for goal.
Their rock-solid backline consists of the wing-backs Dani Alves and Kwadwo Asamoah as well as the centre-back pairing of Daniele Rugani and Andrea Barzagli. With a goal-hungry forwards and a water-tight defence, Juventus have the complete team.
Verdict: Napoli + Both Teams To Score – Yes – (28/10)
Juventus have won five of the last six meetings between the sides but I feel Napoli are strong enough on home soil to claim the bragging rights this time around. In those six head-to-heads, both sides have found the back of the net on five occasions.
Napoli are one of the only teams in the league brave enough to attack Juventus and I think they might just do that here. Nonetheless, I do feel Juve will get on the scoresheet and with that being said, take Napoli on the Matchbet + Both Teams To Score (Yes) at a valuable 29/10.
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets