sport news Napoli vs Juventus Serie A preview

Is it finally Napoli's time? So often the nearly men of Italian football in recent seasons, they have never had a better opportunity to emerge from the enormous shadow of Juventus.

We're into December now and Maurizio Sarri's Napoli team remain unbeaten in their opening 14 Serie A fixtures, winning 12 of them to establish a two-point lead over Inter Milan at the top and a four-point cushion over Juve.

What's more, they are playing some of the most attractive football seen in the city of Naples since the days of a certain Diego Maradona.

Napoli's players celebrate after their away victory over Udinese last weekend 

Napoli's players celebrate after their away victory over Udinese last weekend 

Juventus celebrate during their 3-0 win over Crotone that kept them in the title picture

Juventus celebrate during their 3-0 win over Crotone that kept them in the title picture

Napoli have the chance to establish a seven-point lead over title rivals Juventus with a win

Napoli have the chance to establish a seven-point lead over title rivals Juventus with a win

Watching brief 

NAPOLI vs JUVENTUS

Friday; kick-off 7.45pm

Live on BT Sport 2 

Yet, we have very much been in this position before and that has created an inevitable sense of trepidation as Napoli prepare to meet Juventus under the Friday Night Lights of the Stadio San Paolo.

Take the 2015-16 season, for example, when Sarri's Napoli were crowned 'Winter Champions' and led the way deep into February.

That was until Juventus beat them 1-0 thanks to a late Simone Zaza goal in Turin and accelerated serenely to yet another Scudetto - by a nine-point margin - as Napoli broke down on the hard shoulder.

Last season, Napoli ended up five points behind Juventus - who claimed their sixth consecutive title - in an encouraging sign the gap might be narrowing.

Now, they have once again enjoyed a superb opening half to the campaign and have the upper hand on Juventus. But, as Sarri and everyone else of a Napoli persuasion knows all-too-well, it is about sustaining it until May.

Napoli have been getting closer to winning the Scudetto under manager Maurizio Sarri

Napoli have been getting closer to winning the Scudetto under manager Maurizio Sarri

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is aiming to win a seventh consecutive Serie A title

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is aiming to win a seventh consecutive Serie A title

We'll know a lot more about Napoli's staying power after Friday night's showdown. Taking aside the good form of rejuventated Inter - also unbeaten - a seven-point lead over Juventus at this stage would be hugely significant.

But allow Juve to win and cut the deficit to just one point and Napoli - who haven't won the Scudetto since 1990 - will just end up waiting for the inevitable overtake.

The narrative in the

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