Serie A Preview: Napoli – Juventus

Posted on 24/03/2010

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Kick-Off: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 20:45 CET.

Stadio San PaoloNaples.



Seeking A Win



The last time Napoli won a competitive fixture was on January 24 when they defeated Livorno 2-0 away from home. Since then Walter Mazzarri’s side have drawn five of their eight matches and have lost the remaining three.



At the weekend the Neapolitans held Milan to a 1-1 draw at San Siro and performed admirably well in the first half. That point gained in Milan lifted Napoli to seventh in the table to 42 points, five points off a Champions League spot.


However, the last time Napoli played at home, they lost – 3-1 to Fiorentina. It was their first defeat at home in the league this season and it will be interesting to see how Mazzarri’s side perform at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday evening.

Stopping The Rot




Juventus appeared to have regrouped themselves underAlberto Zaccheroni when they started climbing up theSerie A table and reached fourth spot. But two defeats in a row last week have turned their season upside down again. The loss to Fulham knocked them out of the Europa League and then Sampdoria defeated them on Sunday night in Serie A.


At the moment the Bianconeri are sixth in the league table with 45 points from 29 matches. Juve are in a Europa League position at the moment and are just two points off a Champions League spot, but their current form and weak defence suggest that they will find it tough to fend off the challenge of Palermo and Sampdoria for the final Champions League place.


However, Juventus have looked good on their travels in the league as they have won seven times away from home in Serie A this campaign.





FORM GUIDE




Napoli



March 21 v Milan (A) – DREW 1-1 (Serie A)
March 13 v Fiorentina (H) – LOST 3-1 (Serie A)

March 7 v Bologna (A) – LOST 2-1 (Serie A)
February 28 v Roma (H) – DREW 2-2 (Serie A)
February 21 v Siena (A) – DREW 0-0 (Serie A)


Juventus

March 21 v Sampdoria (A) – LOST 1-0 (Serie A)
March 18 v Fulham (A) – LOST 4-1 (Europa League)
March 14 v Siena (H) – DREW 3-3 (Serie A)
March 11 v Fulham (H) – WON 3-1 (Europa League)
March 7 v Fiorentina (A) – WON 2-1 (Serie A)

TEAM NEWS


Napoli
Santacroce, Hoffer, Aronica and Dossena are out while Pazienza is reportedly struggling with injury.


Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): De Sanctis, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Grava; Maggio, Gargano, Pazienza, Zuniga; Hamsik, Quagliarella; Lavezzi


Juventus
Buffon, Caceres, Chimenti, Del Piero, Iaquinta and Salihamidzic are unavailable for the trip to Naples and Legrottaglie is suspended.


Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Manninger, Zebina, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Felipe Melo, Marchisio; Camoranesi, Diego, Candreva; Trezeguet

PLAYERS TO WATCH



Ezequiel Lavezzi (Napoli)
The Argentine sensation was brilliant against Milan at the weekend, especially in the first half. His pace and skills tormented the sluggish, old Milan backline and he could have scored two or three, one with a scintillating overhead kick. The 24-year-old will be looking to torture the weak Juventus defensive unit on Thursday evening.


Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)
The Italian international central defender is one of the few good things that have happened to Juventus this season and against a very attacking and forceful Napoli side, Chiellini will have to be on top of his game. The Bianconeri backline lacks leadership and discipline but if Juve want to return home from Naples with anything, then Chiellini will have to hold their backline together.

PREDICTION
Juventus looked to have absorbed a certain bit of consistency under Alberto Zaccheronibut two successive defeats, first to Fulham in the Europa League and then to Sampdoria in Serie A, have once again flared up doubts and suspicions. It is hard to see the Bianconeri win in Naples: the maximum they can achieve is a draw but then again, Napoli will start as favourites for this match.


Napoli 3-2 Juventus

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Posted in: Preview, Serie A