Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri returns to Naples for the first time since they fired him in 2018 and will find the club, which admitted “it broke my heart”, in a sad state.
It has been another week of controversy in the Italian top flight and as always Napoli dominate the titles. It doesn’t seem long since club president Aurelio De Laurentiis fell apart after Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Sarri, didn’t follow his instructions.
Ancelotti was fired in December and this meant a happier new start.
Gennaro Gattuso has struggled since he arrived as Napoli manager mid-season
The form has tightened in Naples while Lorenzo Insigne shows his frustration in front of Gattuso
Alas, it didn’t happen. The appointment of Gennaro Gattuso has always had the possibility of making mistakes, but nobody thought that it could have happened so soon.
Reports in Italy suggest that De Laurentiis has been shocked and angry about the recent Naples series under Gattuso.
Napoli have lost four of their five league games since Gattuso’s appointment with three of those that have come in the last three outings.
There were also hustle and bustle statements in the locker room. Last weekend, after Fiorentina’s 2-0 defeat at the San Paolo Stadium, Dries Mertens and Allan were involved in a heated discussion.
Even Gattuso doesn’t seem to be in control of his team, which opted for a training retreat following the defeat which was something the manager had no say in.
The poor form of Serie A of Napoli has seen them collapse off the table in recent weeks
The owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has shown regret for the dismissal of the ex boss Carlo Ancelotti
De Laurentiis, however, has come out in support of Gattuso while he hopes to control his players
SERIES A FIXTURES
Brescia vs AC Milan (19.45pm)
SPAL vs Bologna (14:00)
Fiorentina vs Genoa (17:00)
Turin vs Atalanta (19.45pm)
Inter Milan vs Cagliari (23.30)
Parma vs Udinese (14:00)
Sampdoria vs Sassuolo (14:00)
Verona vs Lecce (14:00)
Rome vs Lazio (17:00)
Napoli vs Juventus (19.45)
It appears that De Laurentiis has now come down to support Gattuso for player issues.
The speech is that De Laurentiis would have happily blocked the players so that they could concentrate completely in view of the Sunday night game against Juventus in Naples.
Obviously, with all the negativity surrounding the club, Sunday’s game is the one that Juventus will appreciate while Sarri brings his league leaders to the south.
The former Chelsea boss said he had developed an “emotional connection” with the Neapolitan team during his three years at the club.
“It wasn’t a normal experience,” he said after the Juventus Cup victory over Roma midweek.
‘It was something that really touched me deeply. It was, on a human level, an extraordinary bond.
Juve have won eight of the last nine in all competitions and Cristiano Ronaldo has added one against Roma to his double against Parma last weekend. He will no doubt aim to add to his tally of 30 goals by club and nation this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored both Juventus goals in victory over Parma last weekend
Ronaldo will hope to maintain his form when Juve face Napoli at the San Paolo Stadium
Inter need points against Cagliari to catch up on Juventus
The way Juventus have dominated Serie A in recent years is enough for all their opponents to realize how little chance they have once they start falling behind.
Mistakes simply can’t happen because the more they do, the more chances Juventus have to go further.
Inter did well to keep up with Juventus, but everything changed last weekend.
Juventus did a fairly comfortable job with Parma, but Inter drew 1-1 against Lecce.
It is the type of result that Inter cannot afford if it wants to prevent Juventus from winning a ninth championship in a row.
Indeed, to help this weekend’s homework, Inter did everything they could to bring Christian Eriksen from Tottenham.
Tottenham wants £ 15 million for the director who is out of contract at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the end of the season.
Eriksen would certainly help Inter to choose the lock more often when it goes on and could perhaps be the last piece they need to push Juventus hard until the end of the season.
The thrust of Inter’s title suffered a severe dent after being played 1-1 for the last time at Lecce
Lazio seek the 12th consecutive championship win to bridge the gap between leaders
Lazio’s epic run at the top of the Serie A was nothing short of incredible.
Six points are now all that separates them and Juventus in first place. In fact, they are only two points behind Napoli that they could overcome if they were to beat fierce local rivals of Roma in Sunday night’s derby.
They come into play after beating Sampdoria 5-1 last weekend. Ciro Immobile extended his lead to the top of the Serie A rankings to 23 goals by scoring a hat-trick.
Lazio are systematically overcoming their opponents, as demonstrated last weekend with Simone Inzaghi’s team that dominated possession, while on average about 10 shots on goal on a match.
Roma won’t worry too much about Lazio’s fantastic form. They are entering the group on the back of two league wins and sit seven points behind their opponents in fourth place.
Both teams enter the game after the elimination of the Italian Cup in the midweek final, but this will have no influence on the form in view of the clash at the Olympic Stadium.
Luis Alberto made up one point for Lazio against Roma in the Rome derby in September
Elsewhere in Serie A …
I’m trying to collect the pieces from the fallout from the Rome derby Atalanta looking for a second consecutive football season in the Champions League turin only three points behind Roma.
Parma they also have European football as their goal and would move to the top six if they said goodbye Udinese at home and Cagliari falls in fifth defeat out of six at Inter.
AC Milan they are also chasing Europe as they visit Brescia who enter the second weekend from below.
I’m just a point in front Genoa who can exit the lower three if they win at the recent raise Fiorentina.
meantime SPALAtalanta’s surprise victory last time out took them off the table and now they try to get out of the relegation zone when they have fun Bologna.
Sampdoria guest Sassuolo is Lecce go to Verona.