Regardless of the two clubs’ status, the encounter between Juventus and Napoli always makes for a special occasion.
After all, this is widely considered the ultimate cultural clash between Northern Italy and the country’s Southern half.
This time around, the Bianconeri have reached the contest riding a nine-match unbeaten streak whereas the visitors have been looking like the imposters of the reigning Italian champions.
Following the sacking of Rudi Garcia, Walter Mazzarri’s second tenure started with an impressive win in Bergamo. However, that positive debut has now been blemished by back-to-back defeats at the hands of Real Madrid and Inter.
Therefore, the Partenopei will be desperate for a morale-boosting victory that puts their campaign back on track, while the Old Lady will be determined to get a result that keeps the pressure mounting on Inter.
So let’s prepare ourselves for the big showdown by suggesting three keys to victory for Juventus in their tough mission against Napoli.
Pin Back Lobotka
At this point, the dangers posed by Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia are well-illustrated. Federico Gatti and Andrea Cambiaso will have to double up on the latter while Gleison Bremer will have to do his best to keep the Nigerian at bay.
But throughout last season, Stanislav Lobotka was the anchor who made sure Luciano Spalletti’s team operated smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
This season, the Slovakian hasn’t been at his best – similar to the majority of his teammates – but he still has the ability to inflict damage if given enough time and space to work his magic in the middle of the park.
With a midfield comprised of Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKennie, Juventus don’t possess the most creative trio in the middle of the park, but they should have the physical edge over their counterparts, allowing them to press back Lobotka and prevent him from pulling the strings inside the final 40 meters.
Let It Rain Crosses
Following the departure of Kim Min-jae, Napoli have lost their compactness at the back. Nowadays, the likes of Amir Rrahmani and Juan Jesus have been poor when comes to clearing crosses. This weakness was plain to see on several occasions, especially against Milan and Inter.
Therefore, Juventus must take full advantage of the situation and make sure that the likes of Filip Kostic, Cambiaso, and Federico Chiesa deliver crosses to the box with Dusan Vlahovic, Adrien Rabiot, and Weston McKennie trying to get on the end of it.
The Serbian in particular must make the most out of his imposing physical presence and win the aerial duels against his markers.
Break Them Mentally
Based on last weekend’s action, Juventus should be in a pleasant mood whereas Napoli are enduring a joyless moment.
The Partenopei have already lost the champions’ aura which was supposed to offer them a certain mental edge over their opponents.
Therefore, Juventus should try to pounce on the situation and land an early blow knowing that their visitors would struggle to rebound given their already vulnerable morale.
On the other hand, allowing Napoli to play their game could be a dangerous ploy for Allegri, as it could see Mazzarri’s men gradually restore their self-confidence and turn the tide in their favor.