Andrea Barzagli’s settled run in the side this term has been a significant factor in the Bianconeri boasting the best defensive record in Serie A (this term), conceding just 15 goals in the opening 24 matchdays. The 34-year-old oozes calm and composure whatever the opposition and his big game experience represents an enormous asset to Juve’s rearguard in dealing with the division’s most potent attacking unit in Napoli on Saturday evening.
Barzagli has posted some impressive statistics this season, not least the 66.7 percent of 50-50 challenges that he has won (a joint-high shared with (the) Daniele Rugani and the injured Giorgio Chiellini). The Tuscan will be looking to have the upper hand over the Partenopei’s forwards at Juventus Stadium, particularly the league’s leading scorer Gonzalo Higuain.
The Argentine striker’s 24 goals in as many Serie A fixtures means that he is firmly on track to beat his previous record of 27 in a single league campaign (in 2009/10 with Real Madrid). Higuain’s accuracy (he has hit the target with 44 per cent of his 133 efforts) means that Barzagli and company will need to keep shooting opportunities at an absolute premium, while they will also need to reckon with his strong physical presence and tough tackling (he has won 91.7 per cent of challenges) in order to subdue Napoli’s talisman.