Serie A Preview: Napoli v Juventus
By Football News
Juventus can officially end Napoli's interest in the title on Sunday, as their own record-breaking march to the Serie A crown continues.
Antonio Conte's men are closing in on a third Scudetto in a row after extending their unbeaten run in the league to 22 matches with a 2-1 win over Parma on Wednesday - a game that also saw them set an Italian top-flight landmark with a 15th straight home win.
They now sit 14 points clear of second-placed Roma with eight games remaining, while Napoli are a further six points adrift and know that another defeat will officially spell the end of any lingering hopes of a miraculous championship challenge.
Napoli's recent loss to Fiorentina saw them fall further behind the league leaders after their early-season promise had faltered from mid-January and into February.
Draws against Bologna and Chievo were followed by a defeat to Atalanta, a run of three games that saw their hopes of a first championship since 1990 begin to slip away.
A third home defeat of the league campaign would leave Rafael Benitez's side 23 points behind the leaders with only 21 available, meaning that only Roma could stop the Juventus juggernaut.
In reality, Benitez has long since conceded the title, but he will at least look to mastermind Napoli's first league win over Juve since January 2011, a run of six matches.
And he will have the benefit of facing a side minus talisman Carlos Tevez
The Argentinian striker has netted seven league goals in as many games, and is the Serie A top scorer in his debut season with 18 goals.
But he will miss the clash through suspension after being yellow carded in the Parma victory.
"I'm sad to be missing out on Napoli," he said.
"I always want to be involved in every game. On the plus side, I'll be fresh for Lyon (in the Europa League)."
Juve are monitoring Claudio Marchisio ahead of the game, as he continues to overcome a muscle strain, while Paul Pogba returned from suspension in midweek and should again be included.
Napoli could recall Gonzalo Higuain to the starting XI after the striker was rested for the midweek win over Catania.