Juventus’ annual trip to Naples has always been one of the more exciting fixtures of each Serie A season. That’s, at least, in the build up when Juventus and Napoli have usually been two of the best team that Italy’s top flight has to offer, with Scudetto implications riding on a good number of the games between these two rivals from opposite ends of the country.
But this season’s visit to Naples is a little different for two reasons.
The man who now manages Juventus is the same guy who built Napoli into a legitimate Scudetto contender. (Although never an actual Scudetto winner because of reasons that are obviously very apparent to all of us.)
The second has nothing really to do with Juventus, more with the fact that this season has seen Napoli not just struggle, but tumble down the Serie A standings after a somewhat bright start to the 2019-20 campaign.
You put those two things together — two very different yet probably somewhat relatable things — and there’s going to be plenty of spice at the San Paolo this evening, although it might not exactly be the kind of Scudetto showdown that it has been in years past.
Oh, and there’s also this: Juventus takes the field, just like last weekend, knowing that Inter dropped points — again — earlier in the day. That means, with a win, Juve’s lead in the Serie A table could jump up another two points from four points to six over Inter. (As I write this, Lazio and Roma are currently in a 1-1 deadlock.)
So, as you can see, the ball is once again in Juventus’ corner. Sarri’s squad will be facing a Napoli team that has struggled to do much of anything right on the field over the course of the last three or four months, with plenty of drama and speculation filling up the headlines in Southern Italy. Inter’s form has come to a screeching halt, and now is the time for Juventus to continue to capitalize on the first real opening to take control of the Scudetto race.
The San Paolo may be fired up tonight, but with Inter leaving the door open to see Juve’s Serie A lead grow larger a couple of hours from now, it’s game on.
When: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020
Where: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy
Official kickoff time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy and across Europe; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala, Higuain, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Rugani, Coccolo, Ramsey, Rabiot, Douglas Costa, Bernardeschi
Napoli starting XI (4-3-3): Meret; Hysaj, Manolas, Di Lorenzo, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Demme, Zielinski; Callejon, Milik, Insigne
Napoli bench: Karnezis, Daniele, Luperto, Maksimovic, Elmas, Lobotka, Llorente, Lozano, Leandrinho
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia North America (United States); RAI Italia North America, TLN (Canada); Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom); Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Premier Player HD (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia, NOW TV (Italy)
Other live viewing options can be found here, and as always, you can also follow along with us live and all the stupid things we say on Twitter. If you haven’t already, join the community on Black & White & Read All Over, and join in the discussion below.