Published on December 8th, 2023
Barely a fortnight has passed since Juventus hosted the team widely anticipated to clinch the 2023-24 Scudetto at Allianz Stadium.
The match initially lived up to the lofty expectations in the first 45 minutes, only to lose its vigor rapidly, akin to a bottle of soda left uncapped overnight.
Presently, the Scudetto champions from the previous season are arriving in Turin, aiming to impede Juventus’ early-season triumphs on their home turf.
Undoubtedly, this Napoli differs from the team that last graced Turin in the spring.
While still boasting top-notch attacking talents such as Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the orchestrator of their moves now directs a team in a distinct hue of blue.
The replacement for Luciano Spalletti has also departed, marking Napoli’s swift transition to their second manager of the season.
This scenario unfolds despite their status as the reigning Serie A champions, currently occupying the fifth spot in a tightly contested group of clubs, trailing behind third-place Milan.
The recent replacement for Rudi Garcia during the latest international break is a familiar figure for longtime calcio enthusiasts: Walter Mazzarri.
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He had been unemployed since May 2022 after failing to prevent Cagliari’s relegation.
Mazzarri’s return to the club where he achieved his greatest success as a manager aims to maintain continuity in tactics established by Spalletti and Garcia.
Those familiar with Mazzarri know that anything other than a three-man defense is not his preference.
However, Mazzarri’s initial three games back in Naples have not resulted in a significant improvement.
While the first game against Atalanta was a positive one, culminating in a 2-1 away victory in Bergamo, Napoli suffered consecutive losses to Real Madrid and league leaders Inter, with a combined score of 7-2.
The most recent defeat was a 3-0 dismantling by Simone Inzaghi’s side this past weekend.
Max Allegri and Juventus have the opportunity to gain valuable insights into Napoli’s current form under Mazzarri and effective attacking strategies by examining Inter’s recent performance at the Maradona stadium.
While Inter may excel in counterattacking, there are similarities in their playing style with what Allegri envisions for Juventus.
It’s worth noting that Allegri tends to adopt a deeper playing position compared to Inter, highlighting a noticeable distinction between the two teams.
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By the way, Juventus’ sole victory against Napoli in their recent Serie A encounters underscores the challenging dynamic between the two clubs situated at opposite ends of Italy.
Despite Napoli’s evident improvement over the past couple of years, it remains a considerable stretch of time for a powerhouse like Juventus to be without a win against another prominent club.
The upcoming clash between Juventus and Napoli in the 2023-24 season encapsulates two distinctive features of this season’s schedule.
Firstly, there’s the oscillation between high-stakes matches and fixtures against provincial opponents, a pattern that is set to persist throughout much of December.
Additionally, Juventus is in the midst of playing three consecutive Friday night fixtures, providing them with an opportunity to exert pressure on Inter at least a day before their next game.
Looking at Inter’s weekend fixture against Udinese, it appears likely that the current league leaders will maintain their position at the top, given Udinese’s less formidable status.
Consequently, any misstep by Juventus against Napoli would afford Inter a more secure lead atop the Serie A table, assuming things unfold as anticipated for the current frontrunners.
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Squad Update: Team News Ahead Of The Big Clash
- Paul Pogba and Nicolo Fagioli are still suspended, with one being largely absent in recent weeks, while the other is actively participating in daily training sessions.
- The only players listed on the injury report, according to Max Allegri, are Timothy Weah and Mattia De Sciglio.
- Manuel Locatelli is confirmed to be fit and is expected to return to the starting lineup, as mentioned by Allegri in his pre-match press conference.
- Allegri stated that the period of experimentation with the formation is over, clarifying that Danilo will be utilized solely as a defender, not in a midfield role.
- Although Danilo has improved, Allegri indicated that the Juventus captain may not yet have the stamina for a full 90-minute match after his prolonged injury absence.
- Federico Gatti is the only Juventus player at risk of suspension, being one yellow card away from a one-game ban.
- Allegri praised the team’s current state after Gatti’s stoppage-time winner against Monza, emphasizing the need for the team to remain focused on their primary goal of securing a top-four finish and not getting carried away with recent successes.
Juventus Key Performer To Watch
The positive outcome from the chaotic events in Naples last January is that Bremer’s performance this season is a far cry from that incident.
The Brazilian center back, known for his meticulously groomed hairline and robust shoulders, has excelled this season and is likely the leading candidate for Juventus’ first-half MVP.
Despite his impressive form, a significant domestic defensive test is approaching Turin, and it appears to be a formidable challenge, perhaps even surpassing the recent encounters with Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram.
Napoli may not be enjoying the same level of success as they did in the previous season under Spalletti.
However, when you possess a trident like the reigning champions, defensive strategies must be executed with both speed and precision. The advantage lies in the fact that Bremer is adept at such defensive tactics.
Nonetheless, despite his considerable effectiveness, facing a potentially disgruntled Napoli squad following recent weekend events presents a different challenge.
Whether contending with Osimhen, Kvara, or Matteo Politano, Bremer and his teammates will have their hands full attempting to impede Napoli’s attacking prowess.
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Match Info: Key Details And Updates
Date: Friday, December 8, 2023
Location: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy
- Italy (Central European Time): 8:45 p.m.
- United Kingdom: 7:45 p.m.
- United States (Eastern Time): 2:45 p.m.
- United States (Pacific Time): 11:45 a.m.
- United States (Eastern Time): Friday, December 8, 2023, at 2:45 p.m.
- United States (Pacific Time): Friday, December 8, 2023, at 11:45 a.m.
- United Kingdom: Friday, December 8, 2023, at 7:45 p.m.
- India: Saturday, December 9, 2023, at 1:15 a.m. (Indian Standard Time)
How To Watch: Your Guide To Accessing The Action
- Television: TNT Sports 3 (United Kingdom).
- Online/Streaming options:
- Paramount+ (United States)
- fuboTV Canada (Canada)
- discovery+ and discovery+ app (United Kingdom)
- DAZN Italia, Sky Go Italia (Italy)
- Additional live viewing options available on the provided link.
- Stay updated by following live updates and commentary on Twitter.
- Join the community on Black & White & Read All Over and participate in the discussion below.
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Feature Image Source: Lars Bo Nielsen