Sometimes ahead of big matches, it's easy to get caught up in your own club's narrative. Looking at things from just one point of view, though, is an easy way to get blinded to some of what's going on in and around a match.
That's why we try to periodically talk to writers from other blogs about their teams, especially ahead of such a massive occasion as facing Juventus. With that in mind, we spoke with Danny Penza of Black & White & Read all over, our sister blog within the SB Nation network. Read on to see what he has to say, and then head over to his site to read our answers to his own questions.
The Siren's Song: With new Napoli signing and former Juventus player Manolo Gabbiadini likely to make his debut with some form of appearance against Juve this weekend, what do you think of him? How big of a loss do you think he is to the future of the Bianconeri?
Black & White & Read All Over: I've always been a fan of Manolo — even before Juve signed him on co-ownership a few years ago. While I don't think he would have been a huge part of the team in the form of somebody like Carlos Tévez, but I think he could have had some kind of value whenever he would have come to Turin. Whether that's as a part-time starter or a player that comes off the bench more often than not, Gabbiadini could have definitely been a player Juve could have used. And now that I've used "could have" about 20 times in this paragraph, I'll stop talking.
TSS: Juventus are obviously involved in a number of rivalries, perhaps most notably the Derby d'Italia with Inter Milan that was just played this past week. How do you rate Napoli among Juventus' rivals after how heated their matches have become the last few years?
BWRAO: Napoli are definitely up there rivalry-wise. Obviously the games from the past five years or so are fresher in our minds, but Napoli-Juve is always one of the big games you look forward to. And because Napoli have been in the top four the past couple of years, that's only continues to be the case, if not more. Throw in the fact that the matchup hasn't been completely one-sided the last couple of seasons, it adds some interest to it.
TSS: What do you see as the key to Juventus finding a way to beat Napoli?
BWRAO: I think it's a lot like the Inter game from earlier this week for Juve. That first half was fantastic, one of their best halves of the season without a doubt. But then they went from really good to absolutely terrible in about 10 minutes of game time in the second half. Juve's defense went from incredibly strong to falling apart in front our eyes. You don't need to remind me how many mistakes Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci made after halftime against Inter. So, in short, it's about consistency for Juventus. If Good Juventus plays as close to a 90-minute game as possible, then I'll be in a good mood. If Bad Juventus shows its ugly head again, I'm going to be hiding under the bed.
TSS: Conversely, what weakness of Juventus' do you most fear Napoli exploiting?
BWRAO: Defensively, definitely. Napoli has a lot of attacking talent — and that was before they added Gabbiadini to the fold. Chiellini hasn't been very good this season. Patrice Evra is getting better as he gets more time on the field with Kwadwo Asamoah being out injured, but still isn't all that great these days. The fear is that Napoli comes out absolutely on fire, gets the crowd roaring even more than they will be prior to kickoff, and then Juve just can't match that intensity.
TSS: If you could pluck one Napoli player and drop them in to Juventus' squad, who do you think would do them the most good?
BWRAO: The way Fernando Llorente has struggled this season, I think I'd probably take Gonzalo Higuain. A potential partnership with him and Tevez? Whoa boy, that gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies inside. I love Llorente, and still have faith that he can turn things around because he's proven he can do it once before after basically a season off with Bilbao, but Higuain has been consistently great since coming over from Real Madrid. Juventus' midfield is awesome, their defense can be great when everybody is healthy and/or in form, but the attack has been a little too Tevez-dependant this season.