Juventus vs Napoli: Match Preview
For several weeks and months now, many identified this match between Juventus and Napoli as a decisive moment in the 2017/18 Serie A title race and so it proves to be.
With just five games left, four points separate the sides and both teams will be going for the win that would give their Scudetto credentials a timely boost.
Juventus saw their six-point lead over Napoli reduced on Wednesday night when they were held to a 1-1 draw in Crotone, while the Partenopei came from behind to beat Udinese 4-2 at the Stadio San Paolo.
That result revived the title aspirations of Maurizio Sarri’s men, after they had been the ones to drop points at the weekend with a goalless draw against Milan as Juve saw off Sampdoria 3-0 at Allianz Stadium.
With one month of the season remaining, there is still time for potential twists and turns until the trophy’s final destination is confirmed.
STADIUM SHOWDOWNS WITH NAPOLI
The Bianconeri boast a 100% record against Napoli at Allianz Stadium, winning all six Serie A matches and also a Coppa Italia semi-final played in front of their own fans.
From Vidal to Quagliarella, Pirlo to Pogba, Sturaro to Zaza, not to mention Gonzalo Higuaín scoring against his former club at the first time of asking, there have been many memorable goals in this fixture.
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Pipita has five goals in five games against Napoli between league and cup, and was the match-winner last time out in December’s breath-taking 1-0 victory at the Stadio San Paolo. As chance would have it, Sunday’s will be the Argentine forward’s 100th appearance for the Bianconeri in all competitions since swapping Naples for Turin in the summer of 2016.
With four assists in his last two league games, Douglas Costa has now set up 10 goals in Serie A this season – Juventus’ leading creative force.
Miralem Pjanic, meanwhile, has eight Serie A assists this term. The Bosnian has found the target three times against Napoli in his career. Only against Torino has he scored more (four).
Lorenzo Insigne and José Callejón are Napoli’s leading goal providers with nine and eight assists respectively. Callejón got on the scoresheet himself in Napoli’s last two matches at Allianz Stadium.
Despite not scoring in six Serie A matches, Dries Mertens remains Napoli’s main marksman with 17 goals.
The Partenopei’s well-honed possession-centered style of play has meant that Serie A’s top five passers of the ball all wear Napoli colours: Kalidou Koulibaly, Jorginho Marek Hamsik, Raul Albiol and Insigne.