Juventus vs Napoli
Turin is the place to be on Wednesday evening for one of the biggest games of the season when Napoli visit Juventus, hoping to leapfrog their hosts into the Champions League places.
Sitting in fourth and fifth in the Serie A table, Juventus and Napoli are currently tied on 56 points and are separated by just one goal. Napoli have clawed four points back from the Old Lady over the past two games and an away win would cast serious doubt on Juventus’ top-four aspirations.
The two bosses, Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo and Napoli’s Gennaro Gattuso are legends of the Italian game and they will expect their teams to fight, just as they did during their own illustrious careers where they spent their best years together at Milan.
There will be no love lost in the dugouts at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday though!
The Old Lady stumbles
We aren’t used to this. Over the past decade when April comes so does the Bianconeri’s march towards the Scudetto. But this year is different, and not just in the way that Stadiums have been eerily silent with fans absent.
Has that affected Juventus? Maybe so, but the chances of them winning the title this season have all but disappeared. In fact, the reigning champions are in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League places.
A late Cristiano Ronaldo goal gave I Bianconeri a point in the Turin derby at the weekend. It was a game they expected to win against a Torino side in danger of relegation, sitting just a single point above the drop zone.
That was Ronaldo’s 24th goal of the league season but it was no cause for celebration after Torino’s Antonio Sanabria had scored twice to cancel out Federico Chiesa’s opener, his ninth goal of the campaign.
The derby disappointment followed on from a shock 1-0 home defeat to Benevento, and the two results combined have left Juventus 12 points behind leaders Inter with just 10 games remaining.
So, while Inter Milan move closer to sewing up the Scudetto, week by week, and the latest Serie A 2021 betting odds are down to around 1.05 on Antonio Conte’s men, I Bianconeri are fighting hard to stay at Europe’s top table.
Juventus are out of the 2021 Champions League having been dumped out of the competition by rank outsiders Porto. Here at SBOTOP we’ll be covering all the action from Europe’s premier competition this week but Bianconeri fans will be looking elsewhere. These are unprecedented times in Turin; the Old Lady is standing in the background picking up what she can.
And a top-four place in Serie A is the minimum she expects.
They have the players, of course they do. Alongside Ronaldo, Chiesa and Alvaro Morata, who has made nine assists and scored seven goals this season, are a formidable front three. With the quality of Rodrigo Bentancur in the midfield and the warhorse Giorgio Chiellini at the back this is a team you’d expect to beat most opponents.
And re-enforcements are on the way, as Weston McKennie, Paulo Dybala and Arthur have been recalled after they were left out of the Torino game having attended an illegal gathering at McKennie’s home.
Napoli’s run comes at the perfect time
While Juventus have struggled in recent weeks, Napoli’s Serie A 2021 results have been improving dramatically as the season has progressed. Gli Azzurri held off a battling fightback from Crotone to run out 4-3 winners over the bottom club at the weekend.
Top scorer Lorenzo Insigne scored his 14th goal of the season while Dries Mertens, who has come to life in recent weeks, has contributed eight goals and six assists.
This result was a big win which lifted Gattuso’s team right into the top-four mix, and Napoli’s two preceding games produced highly impressive victories over Roma and Milan.
The Azzurri attacks with freedom and, alongside Insigne and Mertens, the likes of Hirving Lozano, Matteo Politano and Piotr Zielinski are all potential match-winners.
Juventus have had the better of the head to heads, winning just over half of the 51 games played against Napoli since 1993, 26 to the Azzurri’s 15 while there have been 10 draws.
Over the past year Napoli have had joy in this fixture, beating Juventus to win the 2020 Coppa Italia, and the most recent clash ended in a 1-0 win for Gattuso’s men in Naples in February. Insigne converted a penalty to ease the pressure on his boss and since that game the Azzurri has gone on to pick up 16 points from seven games, winning the last four on the bounce.
|Juventus vs Napoli||Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.97|
|April 8, 12:45 (GMT+8)|
The hosts are at 1.97 to win this game with the draw at 3.16 and Napoli at 3.69. There will be plenty of nerves in Turin as the hosts try to cling on to their top-four place and the visitors will be desperate to maintain their momentum.
It’s going to be a fascinating night and, I suspect, a nail-biter with either side winning by the odd goal.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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