Midfielders At The Heart Of Juventus vs Napoli Clash

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This Saturday sees the resumption of what is quickly becoming the hottest battle in Serie A as Napoli once again travel north to face off against Juventus, the team who represent everything supporters of the Partenopei despise. Seemingly their entire ethos is to rally against the establishment, painting themselves as outsiders, happy to live in the shadow of Vesuvius but never content to be put into the shade by Italian football’s biggest clubs.

Read more at WhoScored.com

Coppa Win Lets Napoli Out Of Diego’s Shadow

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After spending many years as a much derided and decidedly second rate competition, the Italian Cup has enjoyed a renaissance in recent seasons and, having ended the undefeated campaign of Serie A Champions Juventus, Napoli will be hoping it can do the same for then. Twenty-two years after their last triumph in the same competition, the San Paolo club may have finally begun to emerge from the lengthy shadow of Diego Maradona.

Read more at Independent.co.uk

A Night To Remember: Napoli Win The Coppa Italia

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With a combination of good fortune and great play, they did what no other club has managed to this season and win against recently crowned Serie A Champions Juventus. Unbeaten in all competitions, the Turin giants finally succumbed in this, the Italian Cup Final, unable to thwart the advances of Napoli’s ‘Three Tenors’. It was a game which almost perfectly encapsulated everything these two teams have come to represent in a campaign from which both emerge with great credit.

Read more at ESPNSoccernet

Hugo Campagnaro: From Nightmare To Neapolitan Dream

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At first glance there was very little significance about the sixty-sixth minute goal. A defender tapping in at the far post to give a Champions League contender and title hopeful a 2-1 lead away to one of Serie A’s minnows is about as routine as it gets. Yet as Napoli’s Hugo Campagnaro wheeled away, his sky blue gum shield hanging out of his mouth, the emotion which came flooding from the 31-year-old seemed quite at odds with the stature of the opening day encounter back in September.

Read more at WhoScored.com

Napoli-Chelsea Preview: First Goal Wins?

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When Argentina were drawn against host nation Italy in the 1990 World Cup Semi Final at Naples Stadio San Paolo, Diego Maradona attempted to exploit the resentment felt among Neapolitans by asking them to support Argentina instead of the home nation. Provoking outrage and shocking locals, the pleas of their captain failed, a prominent banner in the stands proclaiming “Maradona, Naples loves you, but Italy is our homeland”.

Read more at Life’sAPitch.co.uk

The Wide Angle: Lichtsteiner, Chiellini and Maggio

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The problems Juventus have endured over the past few seasons, through a string of poor quality fullbacks, has been well documented and earlier in the season this blog focused on the investments made by the club at that position over the summer. It looked specifically at the arrival of Swiss international duo Stephan Lichtsteiner and Reto Ziegler and, while the latter barely landed in Turin before he was sent to Turkey by Antonio Conte, the former has cemented his reputation as one of Serie A’s strongest full-backs.

Read more at WhoScored.com

Napoli Ready For ‘Group Of Death’

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Upon winning the Scudetto in 1987, Napoli fans daubed the words ‘You don’t know what you’re missing?' on the wall of a local cemetery. The graffiti became one of the most iconic images of the incredible seven year spell through which the southern Italian team were blessed with the brilliance of Diego Armando Maradona. It was a period in their history littered with memories and joy that the clubs fans will never forget.

Read more at SI.com

SI.com: Ezequiel Lavezzi Stirs The Drink

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Last season was one to remember for all Neapolitans as they witnessed easily their finest year since Diego Maradona fled the city twenty years ago. They saw first hand the undeniable rebirth of their club and the coming to fruition of their President Aurelio De Laurentiis’ meticulous planning.

His leadership has taken the famous southern side from being declared bankrupt and forced into Italian footballs third tier as recently as 2004, to automatic Champions League qualification this time round.

Read more at SI.com

Napoli-Juventus: El Matador Flattens Shaken Old Lady

Juventus came into their second game in three days in a fragile state following the complete collapse against Parma on Thursday, and there would be no shelter or solace to be found in an unforgiving Stadio San Paolo in Naples. Following a shocking opening goal where Edinson Cavani was allowed to run unmarked onto a free header, the side rallied well and looked to be rediscovering the grinta that had been so sorely lacking in the previous match.

Luca Toni, on a better-than-expected debut, scored what looked to be a valid equaliser only to see it ruled out by the referee for an alleged foul on ex-Juve goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis. From there Napoli dominated, carving open a demoralised Bianconeri defence time after time, gifting Cavani a second free header before the same player completed his hat-trick with a wonderful diving header.

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Cinque Chiavi

  1. Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, even more than the fullbacks, should be embarrassed by their performances here. Yes Cavani played well, making some brilliant runs, but two international class central defenders should not lose a single striker with such alarming regularity
  2. Having said that Zdenek Grygera was poor and while Armand Traoré was not much better, he is a definite improvement on Fabio Grosso and was unlucky to suffer another injury at half time leading to his substitution.
  3. One of few bright spots in an otherwise shameful performance was the debut of Toni, who answered the sneers and criticism of his signing by making far more of an impact than Amauri has in a long long time. The Brazilian was once more a shell of a man alongside him
  4. Milos Krasic was subdued, perhaps by the lack of support but also continues to not receive any doubtful calls going in his favour as THAT dive continues to haunt him
  5. No matter how poorly Juve played, Cavani elevated his game to an immense level tonight, his intelligent and well-timed runs, superb finishing and all-round game only serving to highlight the deficiencies in the Juve attack.

Le Pagelle: Storari 6, Grygera 5, Bonucci 5, Chiellini 4.5, Traoré 5, Krasic 5.5, Marchisio 5.5, Aquilani 5.5, Pepe 5.5, Toni 6, Amauri 1 Subs: Grosso 5, Del Piero 6, Motta 5.5