Juventus-SSC Napoli Serie A Preview
While many will state that the Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester United on Sunday is the game of the week in Europe, it may not be the most entertaining game to be played. In the late kickoff on Sunday in Serie A play, the two teams tied for second will face off in Turin as Juventus will host SSC Napoli in a game that has all the makings to be the match of the weekend in Europe.
Both teams stand on 28 points through 11 games and are only tied for second because AS Roma currently leads with 31 points through 11 games. While it is an important game for both Juventus and Napoli to earn sole possession of second, the loser will still be able to aspire to winning the league as it is clear that the battle for the Serie A title race is now going to be contested between three teams.
This will be an intriguing game to watch for several reasons. The first will be the tactical matchups utilized by the coaches. Juventus will play Antonio Conte‘s customary 3-5-2 formation where the likely starting forwards will be Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, who have begun to form a very good partnership.
It will also be interesting to see who the two wing-backs will be for Juventus as because of injuries and dip in play. Whoever starts in those positions will certainly factor into how well Juventus play in this game given what is asked of them.
For Napoli, Rafael Benitez has done a masterful job of transforming the side from playing a 3-5-2 under Walter Mazzarri to now playing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formations. In addition to formation changes, Benitez has also made Napoli a much more well-rounded attacking team. He has been able to integrate new signings along with attacking players who were already there to form one of the most lethal attacking teams in all of Europe.
The biggest key for both teams will be how well their defense plays against the other team’s attacking players. For Juventus’ defense, they will be tested by facing off against Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne, to name a few. They will challenge Giorgio Chiellini, Leandro Bonucci and Andrea Brazagli.
On the other end of the spectrum, while Benitez has improved the defense play of Napoli given the defenders on the team, they still are a liability especially when facing off against a Juventus team that presents a threat with their attacking midfielders who are more than competent inside the penalty area and can score at will.
Whoever ends up playing and starting, this game will be a great one to watch as both teams will be more than willing to attack the other with little to no reservations. That said, the loser, if their is one, will not be severely affected given that there is a lot of season left to be played, and they wouldn’t be falling too far back in the standings. It’s a big game that will have long-term implications.