If ‘a change is as good as a rest’, as the proverb goes, Juventus have double motivation to look forward to the first match of 2022.

‘Change’ stems from Lega Serie A’s decision to innovate Calcio’s premier championship by shuffling the pack rather than simply mirroring the fixture list from the opening half of the season.

Juventus-Napoli, then, for the opening matchday of the second half of the campaign.

The previous 75 league meetings in Turin against the Partenopei see Juventus on top with 47 victories to Napoli’s eight.

Twenty draws in total but not one witnessed by the public at the Stadium. Over the 10 years since the inauguration of the Bianconeri’s home, Juventus have won 9, losing once.

‘Rest’, meanwhile, comes from the holiday enjoyed by the players after victory on Matchday 19 on December 21. A short but important period of relaxation and recuperation.

Success over Cagliari in the final fixture of 2021 extended the unbeaten run of Max Allegri and his men to 5 games, in which they reduced the gap to Napoli by nine points.

Now a mere five points separate the two teams before the clash on January 6.

The only previous meeting in Turin between Juventus and Napoli on the ‘Befana’, the holiday that closes the festive period in Italy, was in 1991, when Pierluigi Casiraghi scored the only goal of the game.

In front of 50 thousand fans at the Stadio delle Alpi the centre forward, on his return from injury, came on as a second-half substitute to decide the outcome.

‘A change is as good as a rest’, as the saying goes…

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