MARK O’HAIRE (@MarkOHaire) continues his hunt for the continent’s best bet with his European NAP. Can he continue his run of five winners from six in Serie A on Saturday night?
Juventus v Napoli | Saturday 19:45 | BT Sport 1
It’s not often you get the opportunity to support a side that’s dominated their domestic league over five seasons, claimed 34 league wins from 38 and won each of their last 21 home Serie A games at almost even-money at home.
But that’s what we’re being gifted on Saturday night with Betway chalked table-topping Juventus up at 10/11 to see off Napoli, in what should be a real hum-dinger on the peninsula.
A week ago the Bianconeri were beaten in Milan but Max Allegri shuffled his pack in midweek and Juve overcame Sampdoria with relative ease. The fixture marked the return of Claudio Marchisio following a 192-day absence and also saw Mario Mandzukic’s first goal for the club since April.
With Paolo Dybala still unavailable through injury, Mandzukic could play a key role on Saturday night alongside former Napoli favourite Gonzalo Higuain.
Juventus are four points ahead of their visitors and have beaten the Partenopei in each of their past five meetings in Turin. It’s a record that tallies in nicely alongside the Old Lady’s stupendous return when entertaining Italy’s finest.
Since 2011/12 the Bianconeri have won all 15 fixtures against top-four opposition on home soil. Under Allegri’s watch it’s a perfect 10 with six of those 10 triumphs arriving alongside a clean sheet.
Juve haven’t been quite as formidable defensively this term as we’ve become accustomed to over the years but with Napoli missing long-term injury victim Arkadiusz Milik and with Manolo Gabbiadini suspended, the Partenopei will ask Dries Mertens to fill in to a false nine position.
Mertens did an excellent job leading the line in midweek for Maurizio Sarri’s men overcame shot-shy Empoli 2-0. It was a second successive win with Napoli having previously fallen to three defeats on the spin against Atalanta, Roma and Besiktas.
Alarmingly, the Partenopei have been shipping goals at a regular rate all season with their midweek shutout just a second clean sheet in six outings. Also cause for concern is Napoli’s poor record on the road (W2-D2-L1).
Both of Sarri’s side’s victories have arrived at clubs currently residing in the bottom-two and the visitors have lost each of their last five games at top-four teams, notching just a solitary strike.
I’d really love to see Napoli pick up maximum points here and keep the title race close and competitive for as long as possible. However, I just can’t see the guests being capable enough to collect a positive result.
Going back to the opening paragraph, can we really turn down 10/11 (Betway) quotes on a side that’s won their last 21 home fixtures? I don’t think so.
Juventus v Napoli – Juventus to win (10/11 Betway)