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Napoli: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly – Match #6

Napoli came into the match versus Genoa, after what many fans believed was a disastrous tie vs Sassuolo, needing to right the ship.  As expected, Rafa Benitez continued with his squad rotation, giving Duvan Zapata his first start in his career in Serie A. Napoli won the match 2-0 with both goals coming from Goran Pandev (yes, you read correctly – Pandev). Besides the two goals from Napoli, the match was not one of the more exciting ones seen this year.

The Good:

  • Goran Pandev: After his horrendous start of the season, Pandev took the opportunity given to him by scoring the only goals in the match. His first goal, although the finish was good, the Genoa defensive play was bad. On his second goal, Pandev took an over-the-defender ball by Lorenzo Insigne and finished past Mattia Perin to make the game 2-0.
  • Duvan Zapata: Seeing as it was his first start in his career, he did not seem out of place. Although, he did not find the back of the net, he made solid runs, always seemed ready to receive balls and helped out on the defensive end with set pieces. One thing is for sure, he is physically large. Hopefully, he gets more playing time in near future to see comfortability in his game.
  • Gokhan Inler/Valon Behrami: The Swiss midfiled-duo seem to get better with each game playing side by side. Inler had a relatively strong game with 3 tackles and header duels won, 4 clearances and one interception. Whereas, Behrami completed 94 % of his passes and was strong on his tackles. This duo will be important going forward especially in the Champions League.
  • Napoli travelling fans: I forgot to mentionone  thing in my post of match during Milan, however – Napoli are very lucky to always have a relatively strong representation and fan base at away stadiums!
  • Honorable Mentions: Pepe Reina, Juan Zuniga, Genoa’s play in the second half

The Bad:

  • Raul Albiol subbed off: Although it may have only been for precautionary reasons (will see for sure on Tuesday clash vs. Arsenal). However, Napoli fans held their breath especially he has been a calming and reliable stalworth in the back. I hope all is well with Albiol and he plays in the Champions League match.
  • Genoa on paper vs pitch: If someone looks at the Genoa team on paper, one can believe they can provide mid-table results. However, their pitch play has been far from it, having a record of 1W-1D-4L and conceiving double (10) their goals scored (5). Things need to turn around and fast; first change to take place, which is usually the first thing to happen, Gian Piero Gasperini is back as manager (
  • Rafael Cabral not starting: Pepe Reina deserves first team and choice when starting, however including Rafael in the squad rotation would be good for both Rafael and Reina. Rafael to get playing time and Serie A experience and Reina for rest and remain sharp in big matches.

The Ugly:

  • Gonazlo Higuain/Jose Callejon: The thing I find “ugly” is it has become apparent to myself and my brother (@minifazz) of the constant “arm wailing/gesturing” when a pass is not received on time or at all by both Higuain and Callejon. I understand their frustration, however, if I was manager I would have them stop this immediately. Visually it does not look well for two reasons; one it looks like they are complaining, and two their team mates can be discouraged. Now of course this is all speculative on my part. It was just something I wanted to point out.

Napoli got three points on the road and remain second in the league table, behind AS Roma by two points. Their next match is versus one of the most “in-form” teams in Europe, Arsenal, in Matchday 2 of Champions League. The Napoli back-line will have to deal with the likes of Olivier Giroud, Mezut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey (who has 8 goals in 9 appearances).

Forza Napoli!

A special mention to @NapoliFansUK, let the Napoli team hear and know the fans are with them at the Emirates!


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