What a game Serie A has in store for us this weekend: it's first vs second, best attack vs best defence, and south vs north, all wrapped up in a tasty top-of-the-table clash between Napoli and Juventus at Stadio Maradona on Friday night.
Napoli are leaders and will remain so regardless of the result in this game, as they are seven points ahead of Juventus and AC Milan, and victory here would put Luciano Spaletti's team in a very strong position to win their first Scudetto in 33 years.
On the other hand, a win for Juventus would close the gap to four points and ensure a thrilling title race in the second part of the season with at least three teams involved.
Defeated by Inter in their first match after the World Cup break, Napoli recovered well to bounce back with an easy 2-0 win at Sampdoria (despite missing a penalty), a result that consolidated top spot, as then-second Milan could only manage a 2-2 draw against AS Roma.
Spaletti's team now return home, where they are yet to play this year, and home form has been an important aspect of Napoli's excellent performance this season.
The only points they have dropped in eight home league games came in the 1-1 draw against Lecce at the end of August, while their last five straight Serie A wins at Stadio Maradona have seen the hosts score 15 times.
They boast the best attack in Serie A with 39 goals, and also the top individual goalscorer in Victor Osimhen, who has bagged ten. The Nigerian was decisive against Sampdoria, a game in which he opened the scoring and caused Rincon's sending off, both in the first half.
Osimhen is only the second African player in Serie A's history to end three consecutive seasons with at least 10 goals scored, following George Weah between 1996 and 1998, and is without a doubt the main threat to Juve's defence.
However,Spaletti's might just have another ace up his sleeve in the shape of Giovanni Simeone, the Argentinian striker who has put six Serie A goals past Juventus in the past.
Juventus come to Napoli high in confidence, and Max Allegri seems to have found the winning formula, with the Bianconerri returning to the title race after an amazing run that has seen them win eight consecutive games without conceding a goal.
The last two wins in 2023, against Cremonese and Udinese were hard earned and both needed late goals to secure the same 1-0 scoreline. Those successes were two of five 1-0 wins so far this season for Juventus, the most of any team in Europe's five major leagues.
On top of that, with only seven goals conceded, "La Signora" have the best defence in Serie A and probably the whole of Europe at this stage of the campaign, having kept no fewer than 12 clean sheets this season, five more than Napoli.
An excellent defensive organisation and then patiently probing for an error from the opponent has proven to be the right strategy for a team plagued by injuries.
Basically, Allegri prepares his team to not concede, convinced that his team will eventually score, and the fact that his team managed to score 6 goals after the 85th minute proved him right.
Even though he still has an impressive list of unavailable players (Bonucci, Cuadrado, De Sciglio, Pogba and Vlahovic), Allegri is starting to recover important players. Federico Chiesa managed the assist for the winning goal against Cremonese and is expected to be in the starting lineup for the first time this season.
It's been one year since his last goal in Serie A, which just happened to be scored against Napoli in their 1-1 draw at the beginning of 2022
That draw was just one of the seven times in their last eight encounters that both teams have found the net, the only exception being Napoli's 1-0 win in the corresponding fixture two seasons ago. Will we see more of the same on Friday night?