A Different League
Of the top five football leagues in Europe, it’s fair to say that the Italian Serie A has been the most exciting of them all this season.
In England, Manchester City never had any competition. First it was an unbeaten run. Then they created that unassailable gap between themselves and any rival. In France, it was all about PSG. Switch over to Spain and it was all about Real Madrid’s inconsistent season and Barcelona’s unbeaten run of form. The same can be said about the German Bundesliga too.
But it has been an entirely different script in the Serie A. It’s weird enough that this league was the most competitive this year. Normally, a team like Juventus would have either wrapped up the Serie A title or be close to it at this stage of the season. But this one, unlike the others before it, has been an “abnormal season.”
Not all of the other teams have stepped up to the plate this season. 18 of the remaining 19 teams have not been able to keep up with Juventus. But 18 of those 19 clubs are not Napoli. The side led by Maurizio Sarri, have kept the Old Lady within sight this season, not letting up and not giving up.
Juventus have won 27 games this season. Napoli has won 25. 4 of Juventus’ games this season have ended in draws. Napoli has drawn 6 of their league games this season. Both teams have lost only twice this season. Juventus have scored 78 goals this season. Napoli have scored 70 goals this season. Juventus have conceded 19 goals this season while Napoli have let in 23 this season.
Let me help you put things in a better perspective.
AS Roma and Lazio, both third and fourth on the table respectively, have lost 7 games in the Serie A this season. Inter Milan have lost 4 games while AC Milan have suffered 9 defeats.
Napoli is the only side in the Serie A this season that has laid hold on Juventus… and have refused to let them go too far to reach. And this weekend, the boys from Naples will be looking to drag the Old Lady even closer as they face off this Sunday.
As things stand, 33 games have been played in the Serie A. Juventus, after 33 games played, lead the table with 85 points. Napoli, second on the log, have got 81 points for themselves. The game on Sunday, by all standards, is a title decider; a winner-takes-it-all game.
Who Will Win This Title Decider?
With all these numbers and stats, the question we’re all asking is which team will win this game?
Should Juventus win this one, they will most likely run away with yet another Serie A title. They will be playing this one at home, a huge advantage for them. They have only lost one game at home this season.
But Napoli equally have an impressive away record in the league this season. They have not lost any of the 16 away games they have played away from home this season. This makes them a bit hard to predict.
In the last 7 meetings between both clubs, Napoli has only defeated Juventus twice (both wins came when they were playing on their home turf). Juventus have recorded 4 wins and one of those meetings ended in a 1-1 draw.
This is the kind of game that most analysts like me hate to call. There’s too much at stake for both sides. They both need this game. But if you put a gun to my head and ask me to call this one, I see both teams scoring in this game. Five of their last seven meetings ended with both teams scoring in the game.
My Prediction: Both Teams to Score.
What do you think about this game? Which team do you think will win? Leave me a comment and share your thoughts with me.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.