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Juventus-Napoli, the other Derby d'Italia

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Cari tifosi juventini,

We all know that Juventus is not the team of Torino. We are the team of all of Italy. Juventus has Club Docs from Rome, to Sicily, to Milan, throughout the entire peninsula and across the world. The biggest fanbase is across il Mezzogiorno (southern Italy) and Sicilia because of Juve's dominance in Italy in the 20th century, as well as the lure of industrial giant FIAT. It's widely agreed that the original Torinesi are all Toro fans, the millions of southern Italians who moved to Turin for work and their descendants are all Juventini. For me, and many millions of southern Italians there are two big teams you can support, Napoli, or Juventus. (Sorry Palermitani, a mainlander couldn't ever support your team) Because of this, this is one of the biggest rivalries for Juventus. It's not just the best northern team against the "best" southern team, it's also a bitterly divided match in southern Italy. I could never stomach another Napoli scudetto, the only team that I hate more is Inter. For once I agree with the Interistas....NAPOLI, FOGNA D'ITALIA!

This match will be more contested than ever before. Napoli is flying high and dreaming of a Champion's League spot, whereas Juventus have been limping along for the last month. And us Juventini certainly remember the scandal last year at the San Paolo, where Napoli cheated their way to a 3-1 win with two of those ridiculous bullshit penalties I've ever seen. I hope the players realize after the recent stuttering and last year's scandalous loss, us tifosi want nothing less than a full victory. We need to show the world why we have 29 Scudetti, and Napoli has two. It's do or die time, let's take it to the bastards!

While I hate Napoli (the city) and the team, Napoli FC , AC Napoli , SSC Napoli , Napoli Soccer , whatever the hell their name is now, Campania has given Juve some of its' greatest players. There's a lot of Juventini in Naples, and we can thank Napoli for Ciro Ferrara, Dino Zoff, Fabio Cannavaro, Raffaele Palladino, and a host of former Napoli players that turned to the good side. But that doesn't change the fact that Napoli is still merda!

Juventus: As usual, we have a whole host of injuries. Buffon, Camoranesi, Zanetti, Zebina, Legrottaglie, Iaquinta, Trezeguet, Mellberg, and possibly Giovinco. Goddamnit, that's most of our first team and subs. Oh, and Sissoko is suspended. It's time for the reserves and our youth to step it the hell up. I feel comfortable with Manninger in net, the weak link in defense will certainly be Knezevic, let's hope he's up to the challenge. Marchionni looks set to replace Camoranesi, and as Roberto noted in the last post, as long as Marchionni plays up to his potential we're in good hands. With Del Piero dropped from Italy and rumored to be angry with Ranieri, this is a perfect scenario for him to roar back into form. Ranieri said he's not going to tinker with the formation (good) until we have 1/2 our team back to be able to do so, so it's good 'ole 4-4-2.
Predicted XI: Manninger; Grygera, Chiellini, Knezevic, Molinaro; Marchionni, Poulsen, Marchisio, Nedved; Del Piero, Amauri

Napoli: Juve's been dumping our trash on Napoli recently (sorry, the garbage jokes are just too easy to make) offloading flops Zalayeta and Blasi to the Azzurri. While not looking pissed off, Reja is busy trying to patent his beloved 3-5-2, no doubt that's what he'll be playing tomorrow. Jump over the Napoli Offside for their formation, this is Channel4's:
Predicted XI: Iezzo; Santacroce, Cannavaro, Contini; Maggio, Blasi, Gargano, Hamsik, Vitale; Denis, Lavezzi


Napoli makes CR7 proud.

Key battles-
Lavezzi v. Juve's defense- Well, our flanks should be alright but Lavezzi might eat Molinaro alive. I'm more worried about our center-duo. Chiellini hasn't looked himself since his knee injury and Knezevic didn't have a great first outing. Advantage: Napoli

Poulsen v. Hamsik- Time for Christian Poulsen to show what made him one of Europe's best defensive midfielders. I agree with Channel4 that it is way too early to proclaim Poulsen a flop, when he's done more thus far than Tiago did all of last season. But he's up against Hamsik in this one, who was one of the best midfielders of last year's Serie A campaign. Advantage: Napoli

Manninger v. Iezzo-
Alex is our backup, but I'd much rather have him in goal than Iezzo, who's never impressed me. Iezzo has been with Napoli and Catania of note, leading them up from Serie C. Manninger was David Seaman's backup at Arsenal for years and probably the reason Siena avoided relegation last year. Advantage: Juve

Other notes-
===>To get you more pumped, here's Roberto's preview from the home victory against Napoli last March.
===>Giovinco is Juventino till 2013. Goal.com loses anything to talk about for the next 9 months or so.
===>Ledesma's agent says Juve and Inter have been in talks with Lazio, but denies any winter sale will be made.
===>Deschamps says he still closely follows Juve and that watching his former team struggle hurts him. If Ranieri is sacked (which I don't think we should) I'd hope management swallowed its' pride and begged him to come back. He should have stayed to begin with.

Forza Juve, VINCI PER NOI!