Matches against Juventus are always a hot-blooded affair for Napoli, with a growing rivalry between the two clubs often extending into the fanbase. It's not all bitter hatred, though, because there's a handful of decent folks in the Juventus fanbase.
As we often do before matches against the bianconeri, we rang up Danny Penza -- who runs fellow SB Nation blog Black & White & Read All Over and does an excellent job of covering Juventus -- to ask him about the state of his team. As always, his answers are insightful and amusing and well worth your time.
Black & White & Read All Over: I think it's Juventus just for the simple fact of how difficult some aspects of the summer mercato were and the season they are coming off of. It's hard to think that a little less than four months ago this club nearly won the treble. Now, they're struggling to pick up points in Serie A. Obviously a big part of that has to do with so much change happening personnel-wise. When you see Juve rack up 36 shots and only put seven on frame against Frosinone it's hard to not think of Carlos Tévez or Arturo Vidal. But they're not coming back, and it's not like the summer signings are bad. Even with all the change this summer this team still has very high hopes and the bar is obviously set very, very high based on previous seasons. Once it clicks it will be enjoyable, but we just don't know when it will click.
TSS: Juventus have had to deal with a lot of injuries. Is that the cause of their struggles, or is there something more going on?
BWRAO: It really does seem like it's a perfect storm where everything and anything is causing this team to struggle right now. It's clear this team is lacking the on-field chemistry that made them so good over the last couple of years. Injuries to players like Claudio Marchisio have stripped the current starting lineup of one of its most important leaders. Some players are out of form, others are just struggling to do much of anything right. It's tough right now, but like I've said before, this team is too talented not to right the ship eventually. Maybe most of all, they just need to get their minds right and start playing confidently once again. Whenever that happens, the positive results will arrive.
TSS: What do you see as the key to shutting Napoli down in this match?
BWRAO: Juventus scoring more goals than Napoli, duh.
Seriously, though, I think at this point just hoping for as close to a complete game as possible out of Juventus is what they need to try and beat any team, let alone one like Napoli. They're clearly not at full strength and Allegri is clearly trying to find the right formation these days to try and spark the squad domestically. Consistency hasn't exactly been a word I've been able to use a lot of when talking about Juventus this season. (Unless it's "consistently playing like crap," but that's just me being grumpy.)
Thanks again for joining us Danny. As soon as the opposite side of this Q&A is posed, we'll get a link up for you to see my answers to his questions. Make sure to follow Danny and BWRAO on Twitter, because the "#banter," as the kids say, will be "lit" and "unreal." Or something.