Just as the midweek round finished with both Juventus and Napoli winning again, Serie A fans don’t have long to wait for a thrilling fixture list on the peninsula this Saturday. At the beginning of this season it seemed like Carlo Ancelotti had a huge task on his hands as Napoli were left defensively fragile following the departure of former boss Maurizio Sarri, but his experienced successor has got his side in order more quickly than expected.
Not only has “Carletto” managed to shore up his backline, but the boss has also implemented a rotation system that Sarri was heavily criticised for failing to do. Fatigue suffered towards the end of last season by the regular XI as a result almost certainly cost Napoli the title, but the new man seems determined to avoid the same pitfalls.
Consecutive wins versus Fiorentina, Sampdoria and Parma have lifted the Partenopei to second in the table and are just three points behind Juve – the latter team winners of the last seven consecutive Scudetti – and Ancelotti has a golden chance to close that gap this weekend as his side travel to Turin.
Memories of last season’s dramatic 1-0 win for the Partenopei must still be fresh in the minds of both teams as the visitors were triumphant on the night, but capitulation versus Fiorentina cost them a chance of the title in the very next round. Again, Ancelotti will be looking to correct previous mistakes such as these, but his side will also have their minds on a tough Champions League clash with Liverpool coming up next.
Napoli have done it! A late, late winner from Kalidou Koulibaly has kept their Serie A dream alive!
Incredible scenes in Turin! pic.twitter.com/tcekE3772x
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 22, 2018
Juventus and their star forward Cristiano Ronaldo are yet to find top gear despite having won all of their opening seven matches this term, the first time the Bianconeri have done so since the 1930/31 campaign. Napoli should be looking to exploit any small weakness they can find in their opponent’s armour in order to make the title race as wide open as possible this season.
It will be a fascinating tactical battle between two experienced and competent Coaches and one which should provide gripping entertainment throughout. Further South there is also a clash not to be missed, the Rome derby always a genuine spectacle for football fans across the world.
The timing of this match could not be worse for Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco as he fought back from the brink of being sacked with a 4-0 win over Frosinone on Wednesday. There will be no respite as he now faces a huge test of his credentials, in a highly-charged match where history has taught us that anything can happen.
The Giallorossi sit four points behind their cross-city rivals with just eight in the bag from their opening six matches, despite having outscored their neighbours by two with their tally of 11 goals. Yet the defence is the main problem for Roma as a leaky backline has conceded no less than nine times, and Lazio striker Ciro Immobile will be on the prowl.
Last season’s joint top-scorer is already on three in the league alone, after the former Sevilla fired in a brace last weekend versus Genoa. These factors set up a potential for goals, just another reason why it’s wise to tune in to what’s happening in Italy this weekend.