Serie A: Napoli vs Juventus preview


Title holders and leaders Juventus face their final hurdle before celebrating the eighth consecutive Serie A crown, they face second-placed Napoli on Sunday at San Paolo Stadium in a match that could either revive the title race or close it for good. The Bianconeri had a solid performance in the reverse fixture in September and won it 3-1, with two goals from Mario Mandzukic and one from Leonardo Bonucci after Dries Mertens had opened the scoring for Napoli. Overall, Juventus have defeated Napoli 79 times in all competitions, while Napoli have only managed to taste victory against the Bianconeri on 38 occasions.

Napoli are almost certain of finishing second this season, third-placed Inter are nine points behind, but they would surely love to put some pressure on leaders Juventus and reignite their title hopes. The Bianconeri are thirteen points clear at the top of the table, so even if Napoli win Sunday's match it would still be quite unlikely that they would leapfrog Juventus in the Serie A table. Napoli won 4-0 at Parma last week and they have also advanced to the last sixteen in the Europa League with a 5-1 aggregate victory over Zurich. Raul Albiol is the only injury worry for the home side ahead of this match.

Juventus have been dominating the league this season and they are not too worried about the prospect of losing Sunday's match, even though that might lead to complications towards the end of the season if they manage to advance in the Champions League. The Bianconeri won 1-0 at Bologna last weekend but their main concern is that they lost 2-0 at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, a result that they must overturn in the second leg if they want to reach the quarter-finals. Cristiano Ronaldo is an injury doubt due to an ankle problem and he might be rested for next week's European match. Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira and Douglas Costa are injured.

Probable line-ups:

Napoli: Meret - Malcuit, Maksimovic, Koulibaly, Ghoulam - Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski - Milik, Insigne

Juventus: Szczesny - Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro - Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi - Dybala, Mandzukic, Ronaldo

My prediction: 1-1 draw, Juventus will be thinking more about Atletico than Napoli.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Napoli win - 2.30
Draw - 3.20
Juventus win - 3.20

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