Juventus may well have to wait to open their account in 2022 with Thursday’s game against Napoli at risk of being postponed due to an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases emerging in the opposition’s camp.
This fixture has been embroiled in controversy since the start of the pandemic. In October 2020, Napoli were initially forced to forfeit a fixture against Juventus because they couldn’t travel to Turin due to COVID-19 restrictions. The club were successful in their appeal, however, and the fixture was played later on in the 2020/21 season with Juve winning 2-1.
Then, in the reverse fixture this season, Massimiliano Allegri was forced to travel to Naples without any of his South Americans, who were returning late from international duty. Juve fought bravely in the contest before succumbing to a late 2-1 defeat.
Napoli’s availability crisis has thrust the game against Juventus into doubt
The availability woes for this fixture have continued into 2022. Napoli are without a whole host of first-teamers for Thursday’s clash, but it’s their reportedly worsening COVID-19 situation that has thrust the game into doubt.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport’s Giovanni Albanese, Juve’s opening game of the calendar year “seriously risks being postponed” due to more positive cases emerging in the Napoli camp on Tuesday evening.
We know that Elif Elmas, Hirving Lozano and Victor Osimhen had already tested positive ahead of the trip to Turin, while Luciano Spalletti will also be without those who are travelling to the African Cup of Nations. As a result, Kalidou Koulibaly, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Adam Ounas will all be missing.
Matchday 20 in Serie A will go ahead as planned
The rising number of COVID-19 cases across the league had some questioning whether Matchday 20 in Serie A should go ahead as planned.
Salernitana have already requested for their game against Venezia to be postponed with several players in isolation. However, as it stands, no games have been pushed back with the league determined to continue as normal.