When Max Allegri sat in front of the microphone during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, he made things crystal clear. “Tomorrow’s match is only the 11th round of the campaign, so it won't decide the fate of the title,” Allegri said, making it clear that the season is just barely a quarter over with and that there’s close to 30 games to go.
That’s a lot.
And, by the way, he’s right.
While it is one of the biggest rivalry games that Juventus has these days, tonight’s game against Napoli is just Round 11 of 38 this season. It’s not even a third of the Serie A fixture list. And, considering what point of the season this game it is, it’s not like we’re going to be sitting here a month later and regretting what result may or may not happen because the season is over.
Does that mean this game isn’t as important as others?
Of course not. But, like Allegri pretty much said, there’s still so long of the season to go that a game at the end of October isn’t going to be the final say in the Scudetto race. We don’t need to look all to far in the past to be reminded of that. Just go ahead and look where Juventus was in the table at the end of October last season and where they were come the final day of the 2015-16 campaign. Things can happen relatively quick if you’re able to find some good form and win a good number of games in a consecutive fashion like Juve did a season ago.
.@OfficialAllegri: "The @SerieA_TIM table is taking shape. In a few weeks' time, we'll know for sure who is in the title race." #JuveNapoli— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 28, 2016
One thing is for sure: Juventus is in the title race. They are the favorite in the title race. And if they are to win tonight against a Napoli side that, as we know, isn’t exactly playing its best football right now, that hold on the top spot will be on strengthened just a little bit more. A long way to go, sure, but seeing Juventus winning games is never not a good thing — especially against a rival like they’re facing tonight in Napoli.
Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in England; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (3-5-2): Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Khedira, Hernanes, Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Higuain, Mandzukic
Juventus bench: Neto, Benatia, Cuadrado, Marchisio, Lemina, Asamoah, Dani Alves, Rugani, Sturaro, Audero, Evra, Kean
Napoli starting XI (4-3-3): Reina; Hysaj, Chiriches, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Allan, Diawara, Hamsik; Callejon, Mertens, L. Insigne
Napoli bench: Rafael, Sepe, Maksimovic, Tonelli, Maggio, Strinic, Jorginho, Rog, Zielinski, Giaccherini, R. Insigne, El Kaddouri
TV: RAI International (United States); RAI International (Canada); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online: fuboTV, beIN SPORTS CONNECT U.S.A. (United States); beIN Sports CONNECT Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
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