JUVENTUS meet Napoli in Wednesday evening's showdown from Serie A. James Potter (@thebettingdesk) oversees the action, picking out his favourite fancies.
Juventus vs Napoli | Wednesday 7th April 2021, 17:45 | Premier Sports
After yet another postponement, many fans were left wondering if the league clash between Juventus and Napoli was ever going to be played.
The doomed encounter was supposed to be played originally on 4th October as a part of the third round in Serie A. Napoli were prevented from travelling due to Covid rules and Juventus were initially granted a 3-0 win. However, after a long legal battle, an Italian court overturned the decision and ruled in favour of playing the match.
With the spoils shared from their two previous meetings this season – following Juve's Supercoppa win, Napoli picked up a 1-0 home win in February – the sides are locked together on points and are fighting it out for a Champions League place.
Not only that, both managers are under pressure to deliver and Juve manager Andrea Pirlo is now really feeling the heat. The Old Lady not to be in next seasons Champions League is almost unthinkable but defeat here would put their participation under real threat.
Juventus come into the game in poor form having drawn with Torino last time out and losing to Benevento before that whilst their Champions League campaign was ended by Porto. Its been a very disappointing season for them.
Looking back over the last three seasons, Juve have won 26, 28 and 30 games over the season, yet this term they have a record of W16-D8-L4 with just 10 games left, whilst winning just four of the last eight games. This just isn’t what we have come to expect of Juve and even Pirlo has admitted that his team were “predictable” during Saturday's draw.
Defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Merih Demiral both tested positive for covid during the international period and therefore are still unavailable, so Matthijs de Ligt and Giorgio Chiellini should continue at the heart of the hosts' back four.
Bonucci has missed nine Serie A game this season and Juve have kept just three clean sheets – Spezia who are 16th, Cagliari (18th) and Crotone (20th). De Ligt has played 15 games for Juve in Serie A this season and in 12 of those games they have conceded at least once.
It’s clear they have failed to capture the sort of defensive solidity that helped them dominate the Serie A for years and are without a clean sheet in their last four matches. However, with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line, they still retain their attacking verve and have scored 11 goals in their last five matches.
Napoli were given a scare in their 4-3 win over Crotone last time out in Serie A. There have now been 28 goals in their last 7 matches. Having conceded an average of 6.8 shots in their opening seven away games, they are now conceding an average of 11.86 in their next seven game. Attacking wise only Atalanta have more shots with 14.78 per game and Atalanta and Inter have more shots on target with 5.0 per game.
I am convinced that this will have goals. Both sides collectively have seen 62% of their home and away games go Over 2.5 Goals. Both Juve and Napoli have scored in 24 of 28 combined games this season. Can we really see either side failing to find the net here?
Both Teams To Score can be backed at 5/7 although it’s a low as 4/7 at some places. However, we can add Both Teams Over 0 Cards with Bet365 to boost this to even-money.
Juve have collected at least one card in 13 of 14 home games this season with an average of 2.21. Their visitors have also collected at least one card in 12 games with an average of 1.86.
Napoli have also played 14 away games this season. They have averaged 1.86 yellow cards, collecting at least one card in 13. Their hosts have been awarded two or more cards in all 14 games with an average of 3.0.
The referee is Maurizio Mariani who isn’t the best appointment, but still dishes out an average of 4.0 cards per game. He had shown at least one card to each team in 12 of his 13 Serie A games this season.
Given the magnitude of the match I am also keen to get Both Teams Over 1 Card onside also and this again can be backed with Bet365 at 21/20. This fixture has a history of cards and this would have won in the last five Serie A games between them.