Failure to take advantage of depleted Napoli
The ultimate disappointment on Thursday night was the result. It’s a results-based business at the end of the day, and Juventus failed to satiate the desires of their supporters on this occasion.
While Napoli put out a more than competitive XI, they were without their core for the trip to Turin. Kalidou Koulibaly, Fabian Ruiz and Victor Osimhen were all missing and although their replacements stepped in ably – Stanislav Lobotka was particularly brilliant in midfield – Juve did not make the most of the opportunity that presented them.
Manager Luciano Spalletti wasn’t on the sidelines either, and five of Napoli’s substitutes would’ve made their senior debuts had they appeared against the Bianconeri. One of them, Alessandro Zanoli, did.
Napoli will be thrilled with their gritty point. They maintained the five point gap between themselves and Juventus, while Atalanta will be incredibly appreciative of their efforts at the Allianz Stadium. La Dea are now just three points better off than the Bianconeri, but they have a game in hand after their Matchday 20 fixture with Torino was postponed.
Thursday’s draw has added to the importance of Sunday’s trip to Rome. It’s a clash between two all-time great managers who have shown since their respective returns to Calcio that they’re perhaps beyond the peak of their powers.
I’m not quite sure how I feel heading into the game. While Juve showed signs of life on Thursday, their issues appear perpetual. We’ll find out just how much has changed in Turin as their gauntlet of a month plays out.