Allianz Arena sets the stage for Serie-A ‘moment of decision’ clash
The Allianz Arena
By Ed Emeanua
The Allianz Arena hosts the cliffhanger showdown between scudetto seeking Juventus and defending champions Victor Osimhen’s Napoli, where title contenders face the current champions in their moment of decision for the season.
The Nigerian striker has gone scoreless in as many as three games since his return from injury, while his side has remain winless in two of his last games with them, including a sensational 4-2 Champions League loss to Real Madrid.
Out of sorts Napoli, are hard pressed to stop their Serie A defense freefall, while hosts Juventus, are under pressure to rediscover consistency as both sides dig deeper for to sustain their scudetto quest for the season.
Now fifth placed, the Partenopei seeks a turning point in their poor scudetto defense on this crucial visit to Juventus’ Allianz Arena on Friday, while their second placed host focuses on their drive to upstage table toppers Inter Milan.
Stellar performances, mostly on home turf the current season, has aided the majority of Serie A side to sustain their various 2023-2024 tempo, and Bianconeri should not be the exception as they go to battle with the visitors on familiar grounds.
The Old Lady’s 1-1 Italian derby stalemate with Inter interrupted Juventus’ five consecutive Serie A triumphs at the Allianz in which they managed a total log of 9 goals for and 2 against.
Napoli should therefore be heading into this fray with hosts with much trepidation and Bianconeri should await them with enough reason for optimism.
A Federico Gatti propelled Juventus puffed out a last-gasp 2-1 win at Monza last week, with the Italy international center-back’s 94th-minute boldness helping Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri maintain closeness with the League leaders. Juve, just two points shy of table toppers Inter Milan, can regain interim leadership with a win Friday.
Walter Mazzarri’s return to the Napoli brand with his squally 2-1 win at Atalanta on his debut has since wobbled, as the doyen manager has directed consecutive losses, the most recent a harrowing 3-0 home capitulation to Inter the penultimate weekend.
Nicolo Fagioli and Paul Pogba, who continue on suspension for violating betting rules and running fowl of a drug test, will be kept at bay from Juve’s lineup just as Bianconeri will be without Mattia De Sciglio and Timothy Weah.
However, Alex Sandro and Danilo return to the side, though both are expected to be start from the bench.
Napoli has lost injured Mathias Olivera and Mario Rui to the sidelines, and are left with Juan Jesus as their remaining left-back choice. Mazzarri’s biggest headache remains Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s fitness level, as the Partenopei skipper overcomes a nagging muscle.