We kick off our Napoli-Juventus coverage with somebody other than myself talking. Well, I'm talking, but not directly at the general population of the internet. Instead, I emailed a couple of questions over to Conor from SB Nation's Napoli blog, The Siren's Song. Since he's nice, Conor actually agreed to answer them.
What a guy, right? Yep, yep.
So why wait and put this off any longer? To the Q&A, people!
Away we go!
BWRAO: Hi, Conor. I am glad you've had the chance to put down and stop polishing your mini-Supercoppa trophy for a couple of minutes. Let's get this question out of the way real quick because it's the first one to pop into my head. I know you've written a couple of posts about his impact already, but what do you think of the Manolo Gabbiadini signing and its potential impact?
TSS: I'm a big fan of signing Gabbiadini. I think he offers a lot to Napoli right now since they're short of depth in attack, and given his youth and potential the signing should work out for them even better in years to come. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he does once he gets going here.
(You can read more of Conor's analysis of the Gabbiadini signing right here.)
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BWRAO: Do you think Juventus and Napoli playing twice within a couple of weeks is really such a good thing?
TSS: I know a lot of fans love having a few big matches in close proximity, but I've always preferred spreading them out. It allows for the sides to prepare for the occasion better, and helps build up the hype for fans as each fixture approaches. Still, I'll never complain about big, exciting matches, so as long as Napoli do well again I'll be happy.
BWARO: Napoli ran out four straight draws in all competitions in late November/early December. Do you think that Mr. Rafa Benitez has finally righted the ship a little bit now?
TSS: It feels like he has. Admittedly it's a small sample size, but since the flat performance in the loss to Milan, Napoli pretty well curb stomped both Parma and Cesena and went blow for blow with Juventus in the Supercoppa. Something seems to be clicking right now; hopefully Napoli can ride this run of form out for a good long while.
BWRAO: Juventus haven't had a lot of success at the San Paolo lately. Why's that?
TSS: In a big match, Napoli fans are loud and incredibly passionate. Matches against Juventus get them singing and roaring more than pretty much any other, which creates an atmosphere that's not fun for the opposing team. Juventus, for all their qualities, haven't always dealt well with that kind of atmosphere in recent years, something Napoli is more than happy to take advantage of.
BWRAO: Answer this question like your life depends on it — Does Napoli have what it takes to finish top 3 and make the Champions League?
TSS: Yes. Absolutely. There aren't three teams in Italy that are clearly better, and despite all of Napoli's early struggles, they were still third at the break. Once things really steady out and get going again, they might even be able to put pressure on the top two and make some noise down the stretch.
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