We’re set for an exciting day in the Italian Serie A. Reigning champions, Juventus take on Napoli on Sunday in an encounter that promises to be a mouth-watering affair.
Juventus managed to once again hold on to their status as the best team in Italy. The likes of Atalanta and Internazionale offered Bianconeri some stiff competition but in the end, the Turin giants had enough left in their tanks to wrap up their ninth league win.
Napoli on the other hand, had a rather forgetful 2019/20 Serie campaign in which they failed to finish inside the top four. However, things could be different for them this time around.
Juventus to struggle to hold on to their title?
With AC Milan rediscovering their lost identity, Inter Milan adding more depth to their squad, Atalanta gaining more experience after a second place finish last season and Napoli making a strong start to the new campaign, new manager Andrea Pirlo might have his work cut out for him.
The current Italian Serie A campaign promises to be a more closely contested affair and in the next few months, we might not even call Juventus runaway league leaders. Moreover, the team is going through small changes as well. Blaise Matuidi left for Inter Miami earlier in the summer while Gonzalo Higuain followed the Frenchman to David Beckam’s MLS franchise.
Cristiano Ronaldo is still here but Juventus have a few problems at the back that really need to be taken care of.
Football today is different than it used to and we don’t expect Juventus to have an easy ride this season so let’s not bet on the reigning champions waltzing towards another league title.
Juventus – Napoli to be an even encounter
In the 2-2 draw against Roma, it was quite clear that Pirlo’s side was struggling to play against the capital giants once they started pressing higher up the pitch. Moreover, the Juventus defence was not as sharp as it usually is, with the likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonnuci struggling to keep a hold of Roma’s excellent attacking trio.
Had Paulo Fonseca’s men been more clinical in front of the goal, Juventus might have been facing a rather embarrassing scoreline.
And against Napoli, things might not be easy either. Rino Gattusso’s men have made an excellent start to the new campaign, winning the opening two games, scoring eight goals in the process without reply.
Summer signing Victor Osimhen has taken no time to adjust to his new surroundings while Hirving Lozano is finally showing signs of his talent that he struggled to show last season. Napoli are a side that press at high intensity so Juventus might be in trouble if they don’t adjust to their rhythm from the get go.
Managers in spotlight
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)
Once Antonio Conte was relieved of his duties as the club’s manager, Juventus decided to hand the reins to Andrea Pirlo. The former World Cup winner has never managed a club before so the jury remains out on him.
This isn’t the first time an inexperienced manager has been given such a huge responsibility. But based on how Juventus played their first two games in the league, it is quite evident that the former midfielder is still testing a few things here and there.
Pirlo is yet to really have a preferred starting XI and after seeing his veteran centre backs struggle against Roma, we’re hoping that the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral are given a chance to start the game.
Gennaro Gattuso (Napoli)
As a player, Gattuso was a no nonsense player, always expecting the highest standards from his teammates. A true bullterrier, the Italian would chase lost causes into the night, never giving in regardless of the scoreline.
As a manager, Gattuso expects similar attributes from his players. It doesn’t matter how technically sound a player is. The tactician wants his players to play with their hearts on their sleeves. Napoli named him the club’s manager following Carlo Ancelotti’s sacking. Before his arrival, the club was struggling and if you were to ask any fan, underperforming.
The same group of players appears very hungry for success today and that is down to Gattuso’s presence at the dugout.
Facing his former Milan and Italy teammate, Rino Gattuso would be eager to get his hands on the Scudetto and effectively end Juventus’ supremacy in Italian football.
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Friday 2nd October(All UK times)
Fiorentina vs Sampdoria
Saturday 3rd October(All UK times)
Sassuolo v Crotone (14:00)
Genoa v Torino (Postponed)
Udinese v Roma (19:45)
Sunday 4th October(All UK times)
Atalanta v Cagliari (11:30)
Benevento v Bologna (14:00)
Lazio v Inter Milan (14:00)
Parma v Verona (14:00)
AC Milan v Spezia (17:00)
Juventus v Napoli (19:45)