Juve face key month as Serie A restarts

Italian giants face Napoli this week as Covid-19 resurgence looming massive over fixtures


MILAN:

Juventus start a vital month for the season with the go to of outdated rivals Napoli as Serie A returns to motion on Thursday, with a Covid-19 resurgence looming massive over fixtures.

Dozens of gamers among the many high division’s 20 golf equipment are out of motion with the virus, with Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini a type of sidelined after testing optimistic and 15 new instances amongst Verona and Udinese’s squads introduced on Tuesday.

And the fast unfold of the virus has led to stadium capacities being in the reduction of to 50 % because the Italian authorities tries to maintain the lid on one other wave of the pandemic.

Napoli coming to city marks the beginning of a run of tough fixtures for Massimiliano Allegri’s aspect, who’re fifth, a full 12 factors behind league leaders and reigning champions Inter Milan.

They additionally must tackle Roma, AC Milan, and Atalanta — who’re 4 factors forward of Juve within the last Champions League spot — all earlier than mid-February.

Chiellini’s absence and harm to his membership and Italy defensive associate Leonardo Bonucci depart Juve shorn of two of their most influential gamers, whereas in assault Paulo Dybala and Federico Chiesa shall be on the bench after recovering from harm.

Napoli will arrive in Turin with a protracted absentee record, largely due to gamers on the Africa Cup of Nations and Covid instances, with coach Luciano Spalletti set to remain at home with Covid after testing optimistic on Tuesday.

Star striker Victor Osimhen, who has already missed a bit of fixtures with facial fractures, can be optimistic alongside Hirving Lozano, Eljif Elmas, Kevin Malcuit and Mario Rui, who’s nonetheless suspended for Thursday’s match.

Spalletti’s aspect have a seven-point hole to make up on Inter after a disastrous December by which they ceded high spot and dropped down to 3rd following three straight home defeats, and are additionally with out defensive lynchpin Kalidou Koulibaly and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, each on the Cup of Nations.

Ready to pounce are AC Milan and Roma, who face off on the San Siro hoping to realize floor of their respective title and Champions League races.

Second-placed Milan can lengthen the three-point hole between them and Napoli whereas Jose Mourinho’s Roma are two behind Juve in sixth.

Worst hit by the virus are Salernitana, who with 9 gamers optimistic have requested for his or her match with Venezia — their first since their place in Serie A was saved — to be postponed after well being authorities once more blocked their gamers from taking part in.

Businessman DaniloIervolino stepped in on the final minute to ensure that Salernitana, the underside of Serie A, was not booted from Italy’s top-flight over the New Year by shopping for the membership and ending Lazio president Claudio Lotito’s reign as proprietor.

The membership had been in limbo after the Italian Football Federation refused to increase till the tip of the season the December 31 deadline for appointed unbiased administrators to promote the membership and finish double possession banned by federation rules.

Salernitana has not performed a match since being hammered 5-Zero by Inter on December 17, their final match of 2021 deserted after native well being authorities banned them from travelling to Udinese 4 days later, and the rash of virus instances on the southern membership means Thursday’s match is more likely to endure the identical destiny.

All eyes are on Fiorentina ahead Vlahovic with the January switch window underway. The Gazzetta Dello Sport have reported that Arsenal was getting ready a 70 million-euro bid to get their arms on one among Europe’s hottest younger skills halfway via the season.

Italy’s main scorer with 16 objectives, the 21-year-old would reportedly favor to remain in Florence till the tip of the marketing campaign however with curiosity hotting up in England and Spain, this might be one of many final occasions followers get to see him end up in Viola.

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