Serie A Preview: Higuain back for Napoli, Lazio look for Juve revenge

30 August 2013 10:19

Napoli head north to Chievo on Saturday on the back of a convincing opening day win over Bologna, thanking their lucky stars new signing Gonzalo Higuain will be available.

The former Real Madrid striker suffered a freak accident during the week on a day out on the picturesque island of Capri in the Gulf of Naples.

Higuain, signed for last year's runners-up in the close season for 40m euros ($53.5m) after Italy's top scorer, Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, left to join Paris Saint Germain.

But after making his debut at home to Bologna, the Argentine striker gave the club a fright after falling on to rocks and needing 10 stitches in facial injuries.

Outspoken Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis hit out at the treatment Higuain receive at hospital, bizarrely declaring he would try to sue the region of Campania and Capri for 100m euros - and then give the money to charity.

"I saw a picture of his face and I am willing to ask my lawyers to ask for 100m euros in damages," said De Laurentiis.

Although initially reported to be unavailable for several weeks, Higuain has trained and will be available for the trip to Chievo, who opened their season last week with a scoreless draw away to Parma.

Despite Higuain being "teased for a couple of days", Swiss teammate Blerim Dzemaili said the Argentine was pivotal to their front line this season.

"These things happen," said Dzemaili, "and with the kind of game we're playing this year Higuain will be crucial for us."

Coach Antonio Conte led Juventus to their second consecutive scudetto last season and last week's 1-0 win away to Sampdoria, courtesy of Carlos Tevez's maiden Serie A goal, suggested they will be the team to beat again this season.

However their first big test of the season comes in Saturday's late game when they host Lazio, who are still hurting from a 4-0 rout in the Italian Super Cup a fortnight ago.

Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini admitted the champions would have preferred for the dust to have settled before meeting Vldaimir Petkovic's men again.

"The Super Cup wasn't so long ago and no one believes the result was a true reflection of the game it will be a very difficult game," he said.

"Also, Lazio will be looking for revenge so we have to be vigilant."

Inter began their campaign with a 2-0 win over Genoa at the San Siro but make a potentially tricky trip to Sicilian side Catania, who gave plenty of bigger teams problems last season.

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, meanwhile, will look for more heroics from the Rossoneri, who were stunned 2-1 away to promoted Verona last week before routing PSV Eindhoven 3-0 midweek to secure their place in the Champions League group stages.

Allegri hung on to his job by the skin of his teeth last season, having started the first half of the campaign in disastrous fashion.

After his players' positive performance on Wednesday, when goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng (two) and Mario Balotelli accounted for the Dutch, skipper Riccardo Montolivo has called for the same approach at home against Cagliari on Sunday.

"We should have the same mentality whether it's a Serie A game or a Champions League fixture, but unfortunately there is different motivation," said the midfielder.

"We've made amends for our defeat last weekend but that's not a performance we can afford to repeat."

Fixtures (times GMT)


Chievo v Napoli (1600), Juventus v Lazio (1845)


Roma v Verona (1600), Atalanta v Torino, Bologna v Sampdoria, Catania v Inter, Genoa v Fiorentina, Milan v Cagliari, Sassuolo v Livorno, Udinese v Parma (all 1845)

Source: AFP