After a 15 day international break, it was a return for Napoli Calcio. Sunday in the Stadio San Paolo, last-place Chievo Verona traveled south to face Napoli. For Chievo their rollercoaster season took another turn, as former Italian National coach Gian Piero Ventura abruptly resigned as manager after four matches, leaving the job for Domenico Di Carlo. He had his squad ready to play, as the match ended in 0-0 draw, leaving the Napoli faithful scratching their head.
Same as usual, still running the 4-4-2. One thing to note was a lot of speed in this lineup, especially in midfield.
Ancelotti would use Orestis Karnezis, giving Ospina rest ahead of The Champions league this week. Karnezis played well overall, although he did not face much pressure from the Chievo attack. One thing to mention is Meret getting closer to playing, he’s received more of a workload as the weeks go by in training, and was even available on the bench Sunday. His first start is still up in the air, but one thing for sure is that he is ready.
Malcuit-Albiol-Koulibaly-Hysaj made up the backline. This group performed well overall, not giving Cheivo many chances on net. One thing that was interesting is Ancelotti placing Kevin Malcuit behind Callejon, both players are pure wingers and love to play wide, which did not help the Napoli attack at times. We must mention Koulibaly had a great chance in 88th minute, he had an impressive bicycle shot but shot it just wide. Mario Rui came in the 74th minute for Hysaj, who again struggled in the defensive end.
We would get Callejon-Diawara-Zielinski-Ounas. A lot of speed between in this unit, while Ancelotti gave opportunities to Diawara and Ounas to shine. They did not play to sharp but gained valuable minutes. Callejón did not have a good match, he had a couple of opportunities to notch a goal in, but could not find the net. Zielinski as well did not have a good match as his scoring drought continues, as he had a couple of opportunities. With the midfield not playing well, Ancelotti decided to sub in Michael Allan in the 59th minute for Amadou Diawara, to Man down the middle. The last time Napoli needed help while playing in the rain, they called upon Fabian Ruiz against Genoa, unfortunately, since he played significant minutes for his home country of Spain, he had to rest ahead of this week.
Again we got Insigne-Mertens. Both had a match to forget, as they didn’t seem in sync. Fatigue could be an issue as they were coming off international play with their respective countries but seemed like as many shots as they took they couldn’t get one in net. Chievo goalie Stefano Sorrentino had the Napoli attack in check all match long. Milik would come in the 59th minute for Adam Ounas, putting the big three strikers up top for Napoli, with Milik in the center of the attack.
For Napoli it simply was just not their night, Chievo started off fast and Napoli was able to bounce back. They played well overall back could not find the back of the net, luckily they were still able to gain a point from this match. We’re still early in the season but the hole to catch Juve got a little deeper, now eight points behind the Bianconeri. Ancelotti must regroup this squad, this week Napoli returns to Champions League play, as they host Red Star Belgrade in a huge match, with two remaining matches in group play. They also resume Serie A play Monday as they travel to Atalanta, which will not be an easy task. No time for Napoli to dwell on this draw.
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