Napoli vs. Juventus, Preview: Full strength Partenopei for crucial title clash

Claudio Villa

Friday evening's clash between Napoli and Juventus at the Stadio San Paolo will go some way to determining the eventual winner of the Scudetto.

With Juventus currently six points ahead of Napoli in the table, Walter Mazzarri's Neapolitans can't win the title tonight, but they can probably use it. Cutting Juve's lead to three points would tighten things at the top dramatically, though a nine point lead seems almost unassailable.

Napoli are winless in their last five in all competitions, though with the partenopei being so inconsistent, they could pull a result out of the bag here. Juventus haven't looked as infallible as they did last season, though they come into this game on the back of a comfortable win over Siena.

Juventus haven't won away at the Stadio San Paolo since 2000, though they've won three of the last four meetings between these sides, with all four games played in the last year. Napoli won the Coppa Italia final last season, though Juve made amends with a Super Cup victory in controversial circumstances at the start of this campaign.

With this game pretty much a must-win for Napoli, it's fortunate that Mazzarri has a completely full strength team to choose from. The coach doesn't have a single injury or suspension to worry about, though the same can't be said for Juventus' tactician Antonio Conte.

Having said that, he won't be overly concerned about the absentees in the bianconeri ranks. Martín Cáceres, Paolo De Ceglie and Nicolas Anelka are all bit-part players, while Simone Pepe and Nicklas Bendtner have made two starts between them this season. All of the aforementioned will be out injured, with no players suspended. There were some concerns that Giorgio Chiellini would miss out, though he should be fine.

Napoli Injuries and Suspensions


Juventus Injuries and Suspensions

Martín Cáceres, Paolo De Ceglie, Nicolas Anelka, Simone Pepe and Nicklas Bendtner (injured)

Match Date/Time: Friday 1st March 2013 7:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. E.T.

Venue: Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy

TV: Sky Supercalcio, Sky Calcio 1, Premium Calcio (Italy) RAI Internazionale, beIN SPORT, beIN Sport en Español (U.S.)

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