Napoli v Juventus – San Paolo Stadium at 19:45 GMT live at Premier Sports
Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso apologised to supporters for an “embarrassing” 2-0 home defeat to Fiorentina at the weekend, saying, “We hit rock bottom and need to find out what is happening.”
Incredibly, Gattuso is the first coach to lose four of his first five Serie A games on the Partenopei bench since Zdenek Zeman in 2000 with his only victory arriving via a stoppage-time turnaround at Sassuolo; none of their performances have been remotely convincing, and speculation already surrounds his future.
Gattuso scrapped Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred 4-4-2 and moved back to a 4-3-3 system that was widely used by Maurizio Sarri’s successful side, but this team has failed to resemble the ‘Sarriball’ Napoli either. Following the wretched Fiorentina reverse, the former Milan head coach was out of answers.
Gattuso can’t explain Napoli strife
He said, “I can’t explain it, as I felt the team would put in a great performance and I was let down. The team has no soul. We thought that we were recovering from the earlier situation, but evidently we’re still sick.” The Partenopei have now lost their last four home league games and are winless at the Stadio San Paolo since mid-October.
Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims Allan and Mertens had a heated argument in the dressing room after the Fiorentina defeat, whilst star striker Dries Mertens has not played for several weeks and spent much of this month in Belgium, receiving treatment for an on-going injury.
There is also confusion, as Gattuso announced post-match that the squad had decided to go into a training retreat. However, that was already cut short the next afternoon, without lasting 24 hours despite it being assumed they would at least remain together in the build-up to Tuesday’s Coppa Italia quarter-final.
Oppose the Partenopei
Considering the chaos surrounding Napoli, it’s easy to oppose the out-of-sorts hosts on Sunday night when table-topping Juventus arrive. The Old Lady have opened a four-point advantage at the summit, winning 16 of their first 20 tussles under the stewardship of Sarri, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to form.
The Portuguese hitman bagged a brace against Parma, meaning that he has now scored in seven consecutive games – becoming the first to do so for the Bianconeri since David Trezeguet in 2005. His presence in the visitors XI should ensure Juve excel in Naples and are 2.10 to clinch another victory on Sunday.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Juventus -0.50 at 2.100
Preview by: @MarkOHaire