What a week it has been for the Partenopei, a hard fought win against rivals Juventus, a stellar comeback against Leicester courtesy of Victor Osimhen and a top drawer performance against Udinese to put them at the top of Serie A at the end of week 4 of their league campaign.
Starting with Saturday 11th we had Napoli take on Juventus at the Stadio Maradona. Defeating a rival is always great. But coming from behind to defeat a rival? Chefs kiss. The Old Lady opened the scoring within the first 10 minutes thanks to a goal from Morata following a defensive blunder by Manolas. Despite this, Juventus’s grip on the match was that of its nickname, goals from Politano and Koulibaly sealed the fate of Juventus on the night. 2-1 down to a fierce rival come the 86th minute, capped off an utterly pathetic performance by Juventus, who had managed just 4 shots to Napoli’s 11 all game.
On Thursday 16th Gli Azzurri travelled to the East Midlands to take on Leicester in their UEFA Cup matchday 1 tie. A match that was marred by violence between both sets of fans but contained a remarkable brace by Osimhen to rescue a valuable point for Napoli. Brendan Rogers’ side got themselves ahead after 9 minutes of play and doubled their lead in the 64th minute thanks to a great strike from Harvey Barnes. This cushion would have usually been enough to edge out most teams, but it would be short lived. Just 5 minutes later a phenomenal bit of passing play allowed Victor Osimhen to dink the ball over Kasper Schmeichel into the Leicester net to claw one back. Just as it was looking like Leicester might just scrape the 3 points, Osimhen caught his head on Politano’s cross and found the back of Schmeichel’s net once again forcing both teams to share the points.Embed from Getty Images
Finally it came to Monday the 20th to cap off an all in all, hard but well deserved week for the Partenopei. A comprehensive 4-0 victory away from home against Udinese to put the Neapolitan outfit top of Serie A on Monday night. In a truly dominant performance they opened the scoring through Osimhen catching the end of Lorenzo Insigne’s chipped shot (or was it a dodgy cross? We’ll never know as the ball ended in the net regardless) to ensure it crossed the line the Udinese defence had scrambled back to. The second goal was scored in near identical fashion to the first, a cross/shot dinked over the line while the defence scrambled back for it. Koulibaly, what a goal that was. One of them that if you scored in a playground as a child you would have screamed “GERRARRRD” inside your head while driving it home. Goal that. At this point Udinese were looking dead and buried but just to make sure Lozano finished the job with another fantastic goal.
From a statistical angle, Napoli have had a brilliant week. Swamping possession against both Leicester and Udinese and taking 44 shots in these three matches they’ve shown real attacking strength. Most of all however, the side has shown real grit when its mattered. Coming from behind in 2 games and wiping the floor in the other taking 7 points from a possible 9, Spaletti’s men can be proud of themselves but must maintain this momentum going forward if they wish to have a serious crack at the Scudetto, Coppa Italia or UEFA Cup come May 2022.
Player of the week: Victor Osimhen. Boss him. 3 goals when they mattered most. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.