Napoli vs Juventus Preview and Expected Lineups – Serie A Round 3

Napoli and Juventus square off at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Saturday in a mouth-watering Serie A Round 3 showdown and it’s time to preview the game and take a look at the expected lineups. The sides have experienced contrasting fortunes in their opening two top-flight fixtures as the traveling team seek their first win of the season.

Though a blistering start to the season encouraged new boss Luciano Spalletti to name his side among title contenders, Napoli’s title credentials will face a stern test this weekend. Meanwhile, Juventus’ hopes of reclaiming a title following a lackluster 2020/21 campaign have been off to a sluggish start.

Napoli vs Juventus Head-to-Head

Only one of the last 16 Serie A meetings between the Napoli and Juventus lineups have ended level, courtesy of a 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo in April 2017. However, I Partenopei claimed just five victories compared to Juve’s ten in that sequence.

But, back-to-back top-flight wins against this opposition at home will encourage new manager Luciano Spalletti, though each triumph came by a single goal margin. Lorenzo Insigne, who decided both duels, will be looking to add to his tally against fierce rivals as Napoli seek a third straight home H2H win for the first time since January 2011.

A tight, keenly-contested fixture remains well on the cards, as 14 of the last 16 encounters between these two sides in all competitions have yielded a full-time margin of under 1.5 goals. Worryingly for Napoli, they have netted one goal or less in four of their previous five top-flight H2Hs on home turf.

Napoli Form Preview

Napoli’s decision to part with former boss Gennaro Gattuso in the summer and appoint Spalletti has turned out to be a hit so far. A flying start to the season has seen the Naples-based giants win both inaugural Serie A matches over newly-promoted Venezia and out-of-sorts Genoa.

Three of Napoli’s four league goals scored so far arrived beyond the 60th minute, which has been the case with four of their last five strikes against Juventus at this venue. But don’t discard a fast start yet. The hosts were in front at half-time in a league-high 13 home games last season, including in Juve’s most recent top-flight visit. 

Another victory here would see Napoli open consecutive Serie A seasons with three triumphs in a row for the second time in the club’s history after achieving that feat in 2012/13 and 2013/14. That prospect looks well within the realm of possibility, with the home side going unbeaten in 12 straight league outings in Naples since succumbing to a shocking loss to Spezia in January.

The Partenopei stalwart Insigne could reach a flattering milestone here. The 30-year-old’s potential involvement against Juventus would mark his 400th appearance for Napoli, a landmark managed by just three players before. In addition to the captain, Spalletti will welcome Victor Osimhen back to the fold after the Nigerian served a one-game red-card suspension against Genoa last time out.

Juventus Form Preview

Juventus’ start to the season has been a sharp contrast to Napoli’s flying opening. Unlike his Partenopei counterpart, Massimiliano Allegri has yet to taste victory in his second stint in Turin, going winless in his first Serie A matches in charge. 

Devastated by Cristiano Ronaldo’s heartbreaking departure for Manchester United, the 36-time Italian champions suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home loss to newly-promoted Empoli last time out. A dismal reverse, coupled with an underwhelming 2-2 draw at Udinese on the opening weekend, puts Juventus in an awkward situation heading into this encounter.

Only once in their previous 51 Serie A seasons have Juventus started a new campaign without a single victory from their first three matches, doing so in 2015/16 (D2, L1). Growing defensive issues spell trouble on Allegri, with his side failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 16 league outings on the trot since beating Spezia 3-0 at home in early March.

With Ronaldo gone, Moise Kean, who returned to Turin from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy, could make his second debut for Juventus this weekend. The Italian forward should help Paulo Dybala carry the scoring burden after Alvaro Morata and Dejan Kulusveski failed to live up to expectations in the inaugural two Serie A fixtures.

Napoli vs Juventus Expected Lineups

Napoli (4-3-3): David Ospina; Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marco Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Andre-Frank Anguissa, Eljif Elmas; Matteo Politano, Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens.

Juventus (3-5-2): Wojceich Szczesny; Giorgio Chiellini, Matthijs de Ligt, Leonardo Bonucci; Mattia De Sciglio, Adrien Rabiot, Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Bernadeschi; Alvaro Morata, Moise Kean.