Juventus vs. Napoli
Date: Saturday, Aug. 31
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
Location: Allianz Stadium
TV channel: None
Odds: Juventus -125 | Napoli +335 | Draw +245
Facing arguably your closest competitor for the league title in the second week of the season is always going to bring about an interesting round of hype. Ir’s a big game, but it’s also August, so it’s not like it could be a season-defining game by any means. Then you throw into the occasion that the manager of one team is the former manager of the other team — even though he probably won’t actually be coaching his current team due to pneumonia recovery — and it’s an added layer or two of spice to an already-intriguing early-season matchup.
But then, as I started to type out that opening paragraph above, the news of Giorgio Chiellini’s ACL tear came across all of Juventus’ social media platforms. And, no matter what you think about Saturday night’s game between Juve and Napoli in Turin and the actual importance of it all, the eight-time defending champions enter this showdown like they just got punched in the gut.
Juventus, the king of Serie A, take on its biggest title challenger, Napoli, on Saturday in Matchday 2 of Serie A. Juve beat Parma 1-0 on the road to open up the season last Saturday, while Napoli pulled off a dramatic 4-3 win at Fiorentina with Lorenzo Insigne stealing the show. This was supposed to be Maurizio Sarri’s first match against his former team Napoli, but the Juve coach is expected to miss this game as he recovers from pneumonia.
Team & Squad News
The 1-0 win to open up the season was a bit shaky in the sense that the attack wasn’t really clicking. Juve put just four of its 14 shots on frame. The passing was sharp but the end product wasn’t very good. Similar struggles against Napoli could see the team on the wrong end of an upset.
Current Juventus squad is:
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandžukić, Gonzalo Higuaín, Marko Pjaca, Paulo Dybala
Midfilders: Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi, Aaron Ramsey, Miralem Pjanić, Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa, Emre Can, Adrien Rabiot, Federico Bernardeschi, Rodrigo Bentancur, Alessandro Di Pardo
Defenders: Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Danilo, Mattia De Sciglio, Daniele Rugani, Matthijs De Ligt, Merih Demiral
Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon, Carlo Pinsoglio, Wojciech Szczęsny, Mattia Perin
Four goals in the opener will have this attack feeling confident, but the defense must be sharper. Kalidou Koulibaly was the top defender in Serie A last season, but he can’t do it by himself. Expect them to play much more defensively against a talented attack like The Old Lady’s.
Current Napoli squad is:
Forwards: Dries Mertens, Amin Younes, Simone Verdi, Lorenzo Insigne, Arkadiusz Milik, Alfredo Bifulco, Hirving Lozano, Leandrinho
Midfilders: José Callejón, Piotr Zieliński, Allan, Amato Ciciretti, Mario Prezioso, Zinédine Machach, Fabián Ruiz, Eljif Elmas, Gianluca Gaetano
Defenders: Lorenzo Tonelli, Konstantinos Manolas, Nikola Maksimović, Vlad Chiricheş, Mário Rui, Kévin Malcuit, Kalidou Koulibaly, Faouzi Ghoulam, Elseid Hysaj, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Sebastiano Luperto
Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis, David Ospina, Alex Meret