San Paolo, Italy
January 10, 2011, 1:15 AM IST
Juventus pay a visit to the sold out San Paolo arena in Naples to face old rivals Napoli as Serie A action continues on Sunday in a Top 5 clash. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses, Juventus were trounced 4-1 by Parma in Turin while Napoli were soundly beaten by Leonardo’s Inter Milan 3-1 at the San Siro. Napoli, despite their loss to the Nerazzurri sit in 3rd place in the league and are still in the race for the Scudetto while Juventus have dropped two places to 5th place and 8 points adrift of leaders AC Milan. Napoli boast of an impressive home record having lost just two games at San Paolo and recorded 5 wins and a single draw which would rank them in 6th position in home team performances this term. Juventus, on the other hand, have done well on the road managing 4 wins, 4 draws and just a single loss ranking them in 2nd place in away performances.
Napoli are reputed bogeymen for Juventus, having beaten the Bianconeri in 4 of their past 5 Serie A encounters and will fancy their chances against a Juventus side who are depleted with injuries and suspensions. A win for both these teams will boost their title aspirations and should give them the much needed confidence boost they desire after their losses in the game of Round 19.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Coach Walter Mazzari, unlike his counterpart, has the whole team at his disposal and is not expected to make any changes to the team that succumbed to defeat against Inter. Morgan De Sanctis will take his place in goal, and ahead of him should be the defensive trio of Hugo Campagnaro, Paolo Cannavaro and Salvatore Aronica. Uruguyan International Walter Gargano will partner tough tackling midfielder Pazienza in the centre of midfield.
Napoli’s strength this season have been the their offensive players and in Marek Hamsik, Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, they form one of the most potent attacks in Serie A. Cavani, top scorer for the Partenopei was an anonymous figure against Inter Milan and will be looking to spearhead the attack in search of his first goal in 2011. Alongside him will be goal-scoring midfielder Marek Hamsik and Argentine International Ezequiel Lavezz who made his return against Inter Milan in midweek.
Form Guide: LLWLL
Possible Formation (3-4-1-2): De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Gargano, Pazienza, Dossena; Hamsik, Cavani, Lavezzi.
Manger Luigi Del Neri faces a lot of selection woes as he will be without the services of battling midfielder Felipe Melo, currectly serving a 3 match suspension after a kick to the face to Parma’s Massimo Paci in midweek. The Bianconeri will also be without top scorer Fabio Quagliarella who snapped his anterior knee ligaments and will miss the rest of the season. Notable absentees include Rinaudo, De Ceglie, Martinez and Vincenzo Iaquinta.
Marco Storari is a doubt for the game with an injury which could well mark the return of Gianluigi Buffon in goal. The defence should contain Sorensen, Bonucci, who marks his return after missing the game against Parma, Chiellini and Fabio Grosso. Momo Sissoko would be a like for like replacement for Felipe Melo in the centre of midfield alongside former Liverpool player Alberto Aquilani. New signing Luca Toni who arrived from Genoa should start on the bench.
Form Guide: LDLWL
Possible Formation (4-4-2): Storari; Sorensen, Bonucci, Chiellini, Grosso; Krasic, Aquilani, Sissoko, Marchisio, Del Piero, Amauri.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Milos Krasic (Juventus)
The flying Serb has been Juve’s best player this season. If Juve are to get anything out of this match, he will have to come up with a top performance. Krasic will look to exploit Napoli’s weakness in defence with his direct running and dribbling ability.
Napoli 1-1 Juventus
This encounter has historically always been a fiery one and both the teams are evenly balanced at this point and will look at a positive result to stay in the hunt for the Scudetto. Juventus haven’t beaten Napoli at the San Paolo since September 2000 and a draw looks a likely result.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST