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Sunday August 4 2019
Advantage Napoli

With opening Serie A fixtures against Fiorentina and Juventus, Massimo Nuzzo explains why the tough start to the season is an advantage for Napoli.

The reveal of the 2019-20 Serie A fixture list on July 29 brought us a step closer to what promises to be another exciting season of Calcio. Just within the first five matchdays, fans will be treated to the Derby della Capitale and Derby della Madonnina, as well as key fixtures and rivalries such as Inter-Lazio, Fiorentina-Juve, Fiorentina-Napoli and Juventus-Napoli.

Napoli, in particular, have been dealt what may easily be the toughest set of opening fixtures for any of the Serie A teams. The Partenopei kick their season off with two away trips, first to Florence to take on La Viola, then north to Turin to face off against heated rivals Juventus. On top of that, matches against Sampdoria, Atalanta and Torino all take place within Napoli’s first 10 matchdays, coinciding with the Champions League. It's a run of fixtures that'll surely impact their odds of success this season with the best betting sites.

While at first glance this tough set of opening fixtures may seem like a minefield that Carlo Ancelotti will have to navigate his side through, getting into the thick of it all right from the start can be considered an advantage for Ancelotti and his players. The Neapolitan club has done well to retain the services of key players such as Lorenzo Insigne, Allan and Dries Mertens, whose futures were uncertain with Napoli, as well as sell on some of their dead-weight players.

Aside from the ongoing rumors of James Rodriguez and Mauro Icardi’s potential transfers to the Partenopei, the players Napoli have secured add to the depth and quality within the club. Kostas Manolas and Giovanni Di Lorenzo have joined from Roma and Empoli to further strengthen what has been a strong backline, and promising Turkish midfielder Eljif Elmas arrived from Fenerbahçe to bolster an already young, talented midfield. These signings seem solid fits for the style of play that Ancelotti prefers, and they don’t derail Napoli from the direction they’re headed.

Compare this stability to their first two opponents, and Napoli come out on top in this regard.

Fiorentina, for example, enter the 2019-20 Serie A season off the back of a disastrous league campaign. La Viola looked to be set for relegation after finishing the season on a 14-game winless streak, but a goalless draw with Genoa on the final matchday saw them remain in the first division.

Heading into the new Serie A season, the club was purchased by Rocco Commisso, who also owns the New York Cosmos. The Commisso era has begun with a lot of promise, with the signings of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Pol Lirola joining what is still a talented squad. However, while the return of Vincenzo Montella and new investment gives Fiorentina tifosi much to hope for, you can’t help but believe that the countless changes made throughout the club so far this summer will lead to some growing pains once the season kicks off.

As for Juventus, they are favourites to win the league once again. However, the appointment of Maurizio Sarri as Coach creates a bit of uncertainty. How long will this revamped Juventus side take to adhere to Sarri’s demanding system? With Chelsea, Sarri saw direct results as the Blues went 12 games unbeaten to start the season, but the considerable drop-off towards the end of their Premier League campaign is what likely cost Sarri his job.

Chelsea’s slump can be attributed to the physical demands of Sarri’s style, and while Juve seem better fit to adapt to the 60-year-old tactician’s system, the transition-period could leave La Vecchia Signora vulnerable at the start the 2019-20 Serie A season.

Additionally, Napoli’s trip to the Allianz Stadium just two weeks into the campaign means the mind games start early between the two favourites. Sarri will have to get his new side firing on all cylinders quickly to face his past, a club where the former banker made a name for himself and created a culture of football that rivaled the long-standing Italian tradition of defend-first.

Whether or not Juve will be up to speed come Week 2 is yet to be seen, but for the Bianconeri, an early visit from the Partenopei will be the biggest litmus test.

Napoli being the most stable heading into the new season is a huge advantage. Among the top clubs in Italy (Juve, Inter, Milan and Roma), Napoli are the only side heading into the upcoming league campaign with the same Coach as last term. It makes the run of early big fixtures a potentially decisive element in their favour.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports. https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/

Have your say...
@Mitch

Napoli haven't been good enough for Europe, but they've been better than Lazio and there more often in recent years.

Lazio's league title 20 years ago means as much as Napoli's 30 years ago - not a whole lot. Back then Italy had all the best players. Different era now.
on the 6th August, 2019 at 10:57am
@Mitch
Napoli are the only Italian team to have qualified for Europe in each of the past 10 seasons.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 5:55pm
I'm a juve fan and odd as it sounds, this is the best year for us to lose the title, new boss, some questionable transfers but maybe that could all be a prod to winning the CL? also, serie a needs more revenue, if Napoli and inter can take a step up then the league might get more interest, but at the moment the only way to make it more entertaining is for juve to step down which is a shame, think conte's will do good, Napoli will regret not Jay James and haggling!!!
on the 5th August, 2019 at 5:10pm
If the ref's were to be fair next season, Napoli and Inter might have a chance to win the league.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 4:02pm
Would love to know the criteria of defining "top clubs in Serie A", and mostly - how is Napoli one of them, and Lazio for example not. Lazio has 2 Scudetto's, so does Napoli. Lazio's last one came in 2000, while Napoli's in 1990.. Lazio has been a constant presence in Euro Cups, while Napoli.. you get the picture. Strange logic, to say the least
on the 5th August, 2019 at 3:57pm
@Anonymous Let me quote Stefano Palazzi.
2011: it is Inter, Milan and Livorno who should have been relegated in 2006 and not Juventus.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:34am
I feel The league will be open this year, napoli and inter have a great chance, I watched inter in preseason games and could see a distinctive improvement under conte, napoli are in a second season with their coach, juventus were shocking in preseason, disjointed, ineffective, if the sarri effect works at all it will take time and Juve could be playing catch up at that point already. Im betting on inter, conte has a record of winning in first season in charge
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:29am
In all major leagues the big teams get the favourable decisions, madrid get them in champions league, we have all watched games in Italian footy where inter, naopli and milan have had decisions go their way, so why pretend it is not the case, seriously it is so boring, we know if you dont support juve you hate them, we know if you support juve you hate inter, so stop wasting everybody time with the childish and sad uninteresting comments
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:27am
I like reading the blogs and what people say, when it is a genuine comment, I wish FI would stop posting the same tired old statements, Rubentus, juve and the refs, juve cheat, it is boring now, we all know thats what you think, but we all know, inter hid evidence involving them, we all know other teams were punished too, and cheating is cheating, so why Juve got punished worse is beyond me, but the boring exchange of I hate inter, I hate Juve, I hate naopli is tiresome
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:24am
I think @Pinturicchio is a self-loathing southerner, hence his miserable nature and bitterness to Napoli.

Making CL finals is no real achievement, especially the way Juve fans trash Allegri for getting them to and losing 2 finals, but then act like making 2 finals is like winning them and add it to their CV of recent achievements when it suits them.

It just adds to the whole ladri argument, which is becoming more and more believable each season when the CL doesn't come back to Turin.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 10:11am
@Parteno-POOP

Glad you admit that your provincial club and provincial fans like you try to trigger Juve fans.

We win Scudetti + Coppe Italia + Supercoppe Italiano, reach CL finals every season. While you and your rotten eggs fans claim you have won the moral Scudetto every year despite coming distant 2nd, no Coppa Italia, not even reaching the knockout stages of either the UCL or even UEL despite having best players/coach/cleaners/groundsman in the world.

That's why I retorted properly.
on the 5th August, 2019 at 2:57am
@Pinturicchio

FI news section just consolidates what all the other 'journalists' on other sites claim. They are certainly not the only ones talking of Dybala leaving Juventus, very bus are comment from you.

This piece about Napoli certainly triggered you as usual. Strange how such a small, provincial, 'loser' club like Napoli can ruffle your feathers, no?
on the 4th August, 2019 at 10:12pm
@Xander, feanor, Accatone et al

All your questions are already answered on the front page of this site.

Dybala was NEVER moving anywhere, but FI raked in the hits and hits with BS pseudo-journalism articles about covering every second of this "imaginary journey".

That's what FI does these days, that's all this site has become. It's what Napoli are also - claiming they're the cream of football, but flopping year after every year and being a joke of a club.

Ciao haters!
on the 4th August, 2019 at 7:39pm
@Pinturicchio

My goodness sweetheart you really come across as a very angry person. I can almost see the heat haze emanating off the screen.

To allow yourself to get into such a fluster over an opinion piece really is rather sad, particularly when the author makes a reasonable point, that is Napoli's relative stability could nullify the fact that they have a tricky start on paper.

Now go and get yourself a nice cool bucket of ice.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 5:26pm
@Pinturicchio

you literally comment first and often on every article regarding Napoli, your hate is pathetic, you also comment a lot for someone who acts like they hate this site and all its contributors. So why even be on here ?
on the 4th August, 2019 at 5:05pm
When any given company needs to hire a journalist, one of the key imperatives the candidate is required to be capable of is having an opinion based on analysis. The author of this article had gathered simple facts and then gave the readers a conclusion, which is exactly what he is supposed to do.

He has not yet done any of that which you speak of. Where does he state that losing to Juve will be good for Napoli? Did you even read the article? Juve fans need to grow up.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 12:16pm
@Pinturicchio

I hope you too, all your contribution to the comment section is hate and toxicity.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 12:09pm
Juventus will dominate and cheat! They will win by hook or crook... Serie A is dead until Juventus stop cheating. Tittle number 9 is in the bags.

Rubentus
on the 4th August, 2019 at 11:54am
Yes, drawing/potentially losing on the opening day, and then whining endlessly about weather, referees, wind resistance, tight underwear et al. but still losing to Juventus on Matchday 2 is extremely good and, according to the author, actually advantageous, according to this author.

I really hope this author has an actual paying job other than typing up such nonsense.
on the 4th August, 2019 at 10:57am

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