WE'VE sealed another stellar signing for the new campaign with Serie A don Paolo Bandini bringing his expertise to the site thanks to our partner Unibet.

Paolo is an Anglo-Italian sportswriter who pens a superb weekly Serie A column for the Guardian and his other credits include ESPN, the BBC and TalkSport as well as making regular appearances on the Football Weekly podcast.

He's a Trevi Fountain of knowledge and we're delighted to have him on board. Here he previews the Friday night blockbuster between Napoli and Juventus.

Napoli v Juventus (Fri 7.45pm)

The protagonists would tell you that it is too soon to talk of a Scudetto showdown. But the table tells its own story. If Napoli beat Juventus, they will move seven points clear of the reigning champions.

Whilst that hardly guarantees them a title – let’s not forget that Inter are second right now, for starters – it would certainly leave the Bianconeri with a mountain to climb.

Max Allegri can only have been relieved, then, to have Gonzalo Higuaín aboard Juventus’s flight to Naples on Thursday. The striker’s availability remains in question after he fractured a bone in his hand, but he has travelled in the hope that he may be able to play through the pain. He grabbed the winner against his former club when they met in Turin last October.

If Higuaín cannot play, Allegri might need to get creative up front. Mario Mandzukic has already been ruled out, and there are further injury doubts for Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi. Such absences should not be underestimated. If there is a weakness in this Napoli side right now it is at the full-back positions, with Christian Maggio returning to the side and Elseid Hysaj swapping flanks following Faouzi Ghoulam’s cruciate ligament tear.

Douglas Costa, at least, should start. He has the pace and trickery to trouble Maggio, who has lost a step with age and was always more comfortable as a wing-back than he is in a back four. Will that be enough, though, against a Napoli side which has dropped just four points all season?

Paolo's Tips

 

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Anglo-Italian Paolo Bandini writes about Italian football for the Guardian and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.

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