Napoli vs Juventus: Preview and Prediction

Napoli will hope to start mounting a late challenge for a top-four place when they host arch-rivals Juventus, aiming to take three points.

Francesco Calzona did not open his Napoli managerial account like his two predecessors this season, as he could only steer them to a 1-1 draw with Cagliari. However, the Partenopei put on a show against Sassuolo, with star striker Victor Osimhen bagging a hat-trick in what seemed like his best game this season. Next up for Napoli are Juventus.

The reigning champions decided to part ways with Walter Mazzarri before Calzona’s appointment, and Aurelio Di Laurentiis will hope he gets third time lucky with his managerial calls. Napoli have struggled to keep pace with the top order this season and will hope there is something to celebrate at the end of the campaign.

Napoli are eight points behind fourth-placed Bologna, meaning they still are in with the chance of mounting a late challenge for a Champions League place, even if a slim one. Standing between them and a top-four place are AS Roma, Atalanta, Fiorentina. So, Calzona will aim for a respectable finish at the end of the campaign.

While Napoli are intent on chasing down a top-four place, Juventus managed to curtail their recent winless run. They secured a late victory over Frosinone in injury time last weekend. Daniele Rugani’s late winner proved key to boost the Bianconeri ranks, although it might have come too late in the context of the title race.

In a dismal run of four games without a victory, during which period Juventus lost twice, Inter Milan managed to take three points from each of those corresponding fixtures to run away with the lead at the top. Currently, the Bianconeri sit in a distant second place, some 12 points behind the leaders, which may seem too much of a gap to cover between now and the end of the season.

They still have to put up a fight to secure second place on the table, with AC Milan breathing down their neck. For Massimiliano Allegri, the task would be to pick up form and begin a run of games that would allow them to take advantage of any slip-ups from Inter Milan, although the chances of them challenging for the title are already slim to none.

Team News & Tactics


Francesco Calzona does not have too many injury-related concerns with his squad, as only two players are missing from action. January arrival Cyril Ngonge, who has missed the last three games with a muscular problem, continues to remain absent, while Swedish midfielder Jens Cajuste is the other absentee.

Napoli are likely to make little alterations to their lineup to face Juventus, as Calzona has a strong enough group of players to select from. At the back, he will rely on Amir Rrahmani and Leo Ostigard in the central defensive positions.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mathias Olivera will provide support from the full-back positions. Stanislav Lobotka remains the favourite to sit at the base of this Napoli midfield, with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Piotr Zielinski the choices to complete the midfield setup for Calzona.

Victor Osimhen, who has hit five goals in the three games played since returning from the Africa Cup of Nations, will continue to lead the line without a doubt. He will be supported by Matteo Politano and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia from the wide areas, with the latter recording one goal and two assists when the two sides last met at this venue.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Meret; Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Ostigard, Olivera; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia


The news of Paul Pogba has become a big talking point in Italy and the rest of Europe, with the Frenchman now banned for four years. But he has remained out of contention for the whole season anyway, meaning it does not affect how Massimiliano Allegri plans his teams for the current season and the remainder of the campaign.

On the injury front, Juventus remain without a host of key players, with as many as six stars missing from action ahead of the visit to Naples. There are doubts whether Danilo has overcome an ankle problem, meaning there could be a start for Daniele Rugani in the back three alongside Gleison Bremer and Federico Gatti.

Midfield is also something Allegri will alter, considering he is missing two of his regulars, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie. On the right side, either the manager could bring in Fabio Miretti or move Andrea Cambiaso to a central role, which could see a recall for Timothy Weah in the wing-back role.

On the left-hand side, January arrival Carlos Alcaraz could play in Rabiot’s midfield position, with Filip Kostic beside him in the left wing-back role. Dusan Vlahovic, who has hit good form since the turn of the year, will lead the line for Juventus alongside one of Kenan Yildiz or Federico Chiesa.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Szczesny; Gatti, Bremer, Rugani; Weah, Cambiaso, Locatelli, Alcaraz, Kostic; Vlahovic, Chiesa

Key Stats

  • Napoli have won their last three home matches against Juventus in all competitions.
  • Napoli have never beaten Juventus five times in a row on home turf.
  • Victor Osimhen has scored five times in his last three league games.
  • Juventus are undefeated in 19 of their last 21 matches in Serie A.
  • Juventus are 12 points behind Inter Milan in the Serie A standings.

Player to Watch

Victor Osimhen

Embed from Getty Images

Last season, he was the star man in Serie A, steering Napoli to their first Scudetto win in 33 years. This time around, there have been plenty of off-field problems to deal with, and there is an increasing likelihood of the Nigerian departing Naples, something he would want to do on a high note.

For Napoli to make it to the top four or even cement a place in the Europa League, they need Osimhen at his very best, and the striker has shown a resurgence in form lately. They might also want a deep run in the Champions League, and all eyes will be on the Nigerian starting Sunday when they take on Juventus.


Napoli 2-1 Juventus

Napoli might achieve the feat of beating Juventus five times in a row on home soil, something they have never done. It also shows how weak the Bianconeri are at this venue, as Massimiliano Allegri will remember the heavy defeat suffered here last season.

Juventus are on a thin line with regard to the title race, and another set of dropped points, as well as a win for Inter Milan, will likely end their title challenge. As things stand, their form is not very good, which could allow Napoli to take advantage of the three points on Sunday.

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