Sunday’s Serie A action closes out with a blockbuster clash between record-time champions Juventus and runaway Serie A leaders Napoli at the Allianz Stadium.
Thursday was a memorable day for the Bianconeri.
Not only did they oust Sporting Lisbon from the Europa League quarter-finals as 2-1 aggregate winners, but new legal developments on the domestic front prompted their top-four return.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side held the Primeira Liga powerhouse to a 1-1 second-leg draw away from home after a 1-0 first-leg triumph to reach the semi-finals.
But earlier in the day, CONI’s College of Guarantee sent the trial back to the previous degree, suspending a 15-point deduction until further notice, which catapulted Juventus to third in the Serie A standings.
They will now entertain morally-devastated Napoli in a mouth-watering contest, which will be available to watch online via live soccer streaming sites, in high spirits.
With a staggering 14-point lead on second-placed Lazio, the Partenopei are on the verge of snapping a 33-year Scudetto wait in thumping fashion.
But it’s not all rosy in Luciano Spalletti’s camp.
Unlike their hosts, Napoli experienced contrasting fortunes in midweek European action as AC Milan knocked them out of the Champions League quarter-finals.
After a 1-0 first-leg defeat at the San Siro, Spalletti’s side could only manage a 1-1 draw in the return fixture at the Maradona Stadium despite attempting 23 shots.
After back-to-back away league losses, including a disheartening 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo last weekend, Juventus return to Turin looking to solidify their top-four bid.
With their partial stadium ban suspended, Allegri’s men can rely on raucous home support that has helped them win their last four Serie A fixtures at the Allianz Stadium in a row.
That run of victories forms part of Juventus’ formidable home league record this season (W11, D3, L1), with no side picking up more points on home turf in 2022/23 than them (36).
Inspired by an outrageous home form, the Bianconeri should be confident about avoiding losing three consecutive Serie A games for the first time since 2011.
However, following a humiliating 5-1 loss in the reverse fixture in January, they stare down the barrel of suffering only a fourth Serie A double at the hands of Napoli.
Complacency seems to have got the better of the Partenopei as they’ve managed just one win in five competitive outings in April (D2, L2), failing to get on the scoresheet three times in this run.
Napoli shared the spoils with relegation-battling Hellas Verona in a dull 0-0 home draw last weekend and could go winless in back-to-back Serie A matches for the first time since August 2022.
That’s well in the realm of possibility, considering they had suffered three consecutive league losses away to Juventus before a 1-1 draw in this corresponding fixture last season.
In stark contrast to their underwhelming record in Turin, Spalletti’s men have been superb on the road this year, winning their last seven away league games since a 1-0 defeat at Inter Milan in early January.
They have won more away outings (13) and collected more points on the road (40) than any other Serie A side this term, highlighting the potential for a first league double over Juventus since 2009/10.
After welcoming Wojciech Szczesny and Paul Pogba back to the fold, Juventus boss Allegri will have his entire squad fit and ready for Napoli’s visit.
Matteo Politano and Mario Rui picked up injuries during Tuesday’s clash against Milan, joining Giovanni Simeone on the sidelines.
Juventus potential starting line-up:
(3-5-1-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Gleison Bremer, Danilo, Alex Sandro; Juan Cuadrado, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Nicolo Fagioli, Filip Kostic; Angel Di Maria; Dusan Vlahovic.
Napoli potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Alex Meret; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kim Min-Jae, Juan Jesus, Mathias Olivera; Piotr Zielinski, Stanislav Lobotka, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa; Hirving Lozano, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Victor Osimhen.
We Say: Juventus 1-1 Napoli
Tired legs could frustrate both sides after physically demanding European duties. On that basis, both teams may settle for a point.
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