Don’t expect excitement in Naples

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to be rested but Napoli must be ready for another defensive masterclass from Juventus in Sunday’s clash between Serie A’s top two.

Juve revealed this week that the Portuguese would have scans on his left ankle after picking up a knock in their 1-0 win over Bologna that maintained the Old Lady’s 13-point lead in the title ‘race’.

Sadly for Napoli, it has not been much of a race this season. And, because avoiding defeat at the San Paolo will probably be enough to close the book on Juve’s eighth straight crown, it would be no surprise if the 34-year-old were left out as coach Massimiliano Allegri knows this season now rests on the second leg of their of Champions League last 16 clash with Atletico Madrid on March 12.

Napoli need greater goal threat to trouble Juve

Juve will probably take a pragmatic approach to their task of quelling any remaining hopes the Napoli fans have of ending their 29-year wait for Lo Scudetto.

Allegri’s side have kept 14 clean sheets in Serie A and conceded more than once on only three occasions, so don’t expect Napoli to make this a high-scoring encounter.

And, three of the Partenopei’s previous four league matches had frustratingly ended 0-0 for Carlo Ancelotti’s men – before last Sunday’s welcome 4-0 victory at Parma.

Under 0.5 goals in the first half is on offer at 2.65 and, given that has landed in Juve’s last two away matches, it seems the obvious choice.

Unbeaten records on the line

It is not hard to envisage Sunday’s clash staying goalless until very late – as last April’s league meeting in Turin did until Kalidou Koulibaly’s dramatic 89th minute winner.

But, Allegri’s team have not lost an away Serie A match in 15 months and it would be brave to back against them even now, after their recent slip-ups in cup competitions against Atalanta and Aletico.