Hellas Verona v Napoli
It’s a Serie A opening weekend that, as normal, has not pitted any of the big teams against each other. For that reason, this is the game between two teams who have the most to dislike about each other.
The north/south divide in Italy can be very well encapsulated with this fixture and the contempt that the two fan bases hold each other in.
For that reason, it is always a feisty affair with a superb atmosphere, even more so considering it is the first game of their respective seasons.
Both of these teams are quite hard to judge going into the new campaign. Hellas Verona have moved on from Igor Tudor and have now got Gabriele Cioffi in charge who did some good stuff with Udinese last season.
They have already been knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Bari, losing 4-1 at the Bentegodi. The suggestion there is that they’re open at the back and have not settled as a unit.
Whilst Napoli still have Luciano Spalletti in charge, it will be very surprising if they are settled as a unit, especially in defence. It is their first season since 2014 without Kalidou Koulibaly and they have a couple of new centre-backs who could start the game.
For that reason, it is very easy to imagine both teams having lapses at the back in the fiery atmosphere on Monday night. They both have dangerous forwards, even if Napoli have lost Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens.
Juventus v Sassuolo
It can be a risk predicting a Juventus game to have plenty of goals but there could well be in this one.
The Bianconeri are going into this campaign with a title fight in their sights and given the signings that they have made, they should be a more attacking outfit this season.
Dusan Vlahovic has now had a full pre-season with the club after joining in January 2022. He will want to be capocannoniere for the first time and he will want to get off the mark straight away. Angel Di Maria will also want to show his new public what he is all about so don’t bet against the Argentine finding the back of the net.
Sassuolo famously concedes a lot of goals and therefore Juve should be scoring in this one at the Allianz Stadium on Monday night.
In terms of whether the Neroverdi can get involved with the scoring, never rule them out. Gianluca Scamacca has been sold but Giacomo Raspadori’s move to Napoli does not seem to be going through before this game and he could be involved. They are also incredibly good at replacing key players without anyone really noticing how they have done it. They signed Agustin Alvarez for £10.3 million from Uruguayan talent factory Penarol, so he will want to hit the ground running.
Juventus have had a change at the back with Matthijs de Ligt moving on and Gleison Bremer coming in. Giorgio Chiellini is also no longer there, so there could be some teething problems for Sassuolo to take advantage of.
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