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Totti Today: Scudetto Showdown

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Napoli or Juve, time to choose sides

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Serie A

Now, let’s be clear, this article won’t involve around AS Roma for a change. And that’s quite painful since we’ll be talking about the Scudetto race that is nearing its apotheosis. The Giallorossi are miles away from Napoli and Juve and are out of the title race since, well, September, so let’s reflect on both mastodons and their respective Serie A campaigns.

Only three games need to be played, nine points to gather and then the curtain will fall over Serie A 2017-2018. It was once again a heated, dubious and questionable season. Juve and Napoli are separated by four points. Napoli won 0-1 in Turin last week, but Juve won 0-1 in Napels back in December. Both teams only lost 3 games so far, while Juve have slightly better stats in the defensive and attacking department. However, these two sides were evenly matched throughout the season.

Napoli started the season all guns blazing, winning 12 of their first 14 games. The 0-1 loss against Juve in December 2017 was a turning points for the Bianconeri. They took over first place from the Partenopei (at least for two weeks), and then ran rampant in Serie A: twelve consecutive wins, fifteen wins in sixteen games between December and April. Damn. Very few sides could keep up with such a devastating juggernaut.

Then again, Napoli did just that and bravely so: Ten consecutive wins between December and February. While their performances way from the Sao Paolo have declined a bit the last couple of weeks, Napoli remains Juve’s ultimate challenger. Their toughest one since they started their dominance in Italy in 2012 under Conte.

Roma, Inter, Milan... The traditional sides were a bit of a letdown this season, the Milanese sides are struggling to keep up with Juve for years now. At least Roma had an outstanding European campaign to heal the wounds. The Giallorossi only made the title race sort of exciting in 2016-2017 with a record breaking 87 points to counter Juve’s 91. But Juve’s Scudetto was never really in question. In all other campaigns there was always a 10-15 point gap between Juve and the others. Wow, what a way to ruin a sports competition, ey?

Thank God one team finally stood up and challenges Juve until the bitter end. And guess what? Roma has a pretty big say in all of this. Juve will travel to the Olimpico next week and a loss there would make the final match day a true nail biter. Both Napoli and Juve have two fairly easy home games coming up so it will probably be decided away from home. Roma-Juve and Sampdoria-Napoli are critical fixtures.

Will the Bianconeri snatch a seventh (!) consecutive Scudetto or does Napoli clinch it in the dying minutes? Napoli would be a sight for sore eyes and a welcome change for once. Admit it, we’ve all been a bit tired of seeing Chiellini, Buffon and Marchisio lifting trophy after trophy in Italy (they also won every Coppa Italia since 2015, ugh). If there’s ever a chance to break Juve’s hegemony, it is now.

A Scudetto for Napoli would probably start massive celebrations in and around Naples, just look at the videos of fans from last week’s win in Turin. After all, the Partenopei have been waiting even longer than Roma for that precious title, their last Scudetto dating back from 1990, when Maradonna was half of his weight now and Totti still had to make his professional Serie A debut.

They are a likable side and have a lot of impressive players like Hamsik, Mertens, Insigne and Koulibaly. They play some of the best footy in Serie A since 2017. It would also mean a huge boost for football in the South of Italy. After Roma’s 2001 Scudetto only sides up north of the Peninsula have won it (Milan and Turin). Hey, don’t be too greedy and share some with us, pals!

However, let’s not forget there are some Roma fans out there who have a less stellar relationship with Napoli and their fan base. Roma-Napoli has always been a hot affair and there’s a reason why it’s called the Derby del Sole. They’d rather see the Scudetto go to juve once more (hey, we’re accustomed to it anyway).

Also, for Roma fans this might sting a bit. After years of ending on a second place under Garcia and Spalletti, Napoli would be the first team to finally break the black-white code. They will be hailed as true champions, everyone outside of Turin will love ‘em and everyone will thank them for ending the curse after seven long years. Napoli would write one of the most romantic stories in Serie A since long.

Hmmm. Do we really want that? Our neighbors of Napoli stealing Roma’s limelight? Or does Roma want that honor for itself and push for another serious Scudetto challenge in 2018-2019? After all, if these Giallorossi can beat the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Liverpool at home and Napoli away, this means they are ready, no? One good mercato from Monchi and co is all it takes and then 2019 will finally be our year.

Is it worth it? Witnessing another Juventus title party and historic seventh Scudetto? Or must it end here and now? Forza Napoli! Only three games left. Time to choose sides...

Poll

Luke, use the force and choose a side...

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Black Lightsaber: Juventus!
    (83 votes)
  • 61%
    Blue Lightsaber: Napoli!
    (130 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now