Napoli set out to exploit Juve's weakness

Thu Nov 7, 2013 7:54am EST
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ROME (Reuters) - Sensing weakness in their rivals, Napoli are aiming to put pressure on Serie A leaders AS Roma by defeating champions Juventus in Turin on Sunday (1945 GMT).

Rafael Benitez's Napoli occupy second place in the league but are level on 28 points with Juve and three behind Roma who, despite facing lowly Sassuolo (1400), are worried that a lack of strike power will hamper them.

Juventus have not looked as strong as in previous, title-winning seasons, suffering an embarrassing 4-2 defeat at Fiorentina last month and conceding 10 goals in 11 games.

With Gonzalo Higuain, who scored twice in the Champions League win over Olympique Marseille on Wednesday, leading a stellar forward line that has catapulted them to their best start to a league campaign, Napoli aim to take advantage of the uncertainty in Juve's back line.

Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Higuain have scored 17 of Napoli's 24 league goals between them and Argentine Higuain believes he has much more to come.

"I'm happy. I still need to improve but I'm feeling good, and that's what matters," the 25-year-old said after Wednesday's win put Napoli in second place in Champions League Group F.

With an international break coming up next week, both Benitez and Juventus boss Antonio Conte will be picking their best available sides, with Valon Behrami and Hamsik almost certain to return to Napoli's starting line-up.

Striker Mirko Vucinic may return to the Juve squad after an injury lay-off but will not start and wing-back Stefan Lichtsteiner is still out.

Fernando Llorente and Mauricio Isla are favourites to start in the champions' preferred 3-5-2 formation, while Giorgio Chiellini returns to the back line after being suspended for his side's 2-2 Champions League draw with Real Madrid on Tuesday.   Continued...