Potential Change in Italy?

Picture from worldfootball.net

Unbeaten in 10 games, Napoli are looking to make a change in Italy by competing with their rivals Juventus and Roma.

For years, Italian side Napoli have been steps behind Italian champions Juventus; finishing behind them consecutively for the past 4 years and not being able to identify the problem. Last season, Napoli held top spot for the majority of the campaign, but after a last minute loss to Juventus they saw their 1st place lead disappear.

This season, after losing Gonzalo Higuain to their rivals Juventus, many thought it would be a struggle for Napoli and that the title would stay in Turin once again. However, Napoli have signed a born goal-scorer to replace Higuain with Arkadiusz Millik joining from Ajax,. Maurizio Sarri has been making a lot of changes with the style of play he has implemented at Napoli over his short time at the club. Sarri is Naples born and is a possession based coach, as the stats show Napoli average a total of 60% possession a game and just over 600 passes per game.

Dries Martens and Jose Callejon. Picture from IamNaples.it

With the likes of Callejon, Martens, Insigne and Hamsik, you’d think that counter attacks would be easy to come by, but only scoring 1 all season shows how Sarri has changed the style of play as they always look to dominate teams and don’t give teams a second on the ball averaging 15 completed tackles per game.

The amount of flare, creativity and pace that their attacking 3 possess is really scary for opposing teams, averaging 15 shots per game and being able to attack teams from any area of the field is something not a lot of teams can do.

Top goal scorer Dries Mertens has got 16 goals in 17 games across all competition, while Callejon has 9 goals in 27 and midfielder Hamsik has even got himself 8 goals in 26. Millie, who started off the season in style with 7 goals in 6 games picked up a long term injury and has been absent for a few months.

Last season Napoli finished 2nd place with a record 82 points. So far they aren’t on course to equal that but they have 44 points in 21 games. Points-wise they may not be doing as well as last season but the football has been a lot more impressive with a different style that Napoli fans enjoy a lot more.

Pos. Team GP Pts W D L GF GA +/-
1 Juventus  20 48 16 0 4 42 16 26
2 AS Roma 21 47 15 2 4 42 18 24
3 Napoli 21 44 13 5 3 47 24 23
4 Lazio 21 40 12 4 5 35 24 11

Napoli’s 2016/17 season has been one to remember with action packed games and still going strong in every competition. Currently 3rd in the league and pushing for the title, winning their UEFA Champions League group now playing champions Real Madrid in the Round of 16, and recently advancing to the Coppa Italia Semi Final.

Napoli’s Estádio San Paolo. Picture by Agência AP  

The current unbeaten streak is 10 games, winning 5 and drawing 5, scoring 35 goals in the process and conceding just 15, which makes them a really tough team to beat only losing 4 games from 24 in all competition this season. Their last defeat came on October 29th away to Juventus when they conceded a last minute goal in a 2-1 loss.

Before going on this long unbeaten streak, Napoli started out the season unbeaten in 8 games, and then went on to lose 4 games from 6. They have redeemed themselves and will be looking at their next fixtures with good spirits. What’s in store next for this exciting Napoli team?

Next Match: Sunday, January 29th. Napoli v Palermo.



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