Saturday afternoon in the Stadio San Paolo, Napoli hosted lower Table squad SPAL. For Napoli, it was important to take care of business against SPAL with an important match against Inter coming up mid-week.
For SPAL, they would line up in a 3-5-2. They wanted to try pressure in the Midfield the best they could with the quality they obtain. Napoli would line up in a 4-4-2. They would start the match off fast and furious getting there chances and dominating possession, which was one of the keys to the match. The home side would get one lone goal in the 35th minute by Napoli defender Raul Albiol, they would go onto win the match 1-0.
Alex Meret- 7.5
Alex would receive his second start of the season, giving Ospina some rest. He would go on to have a fantastic match, looking more and more confident. He gives Napoli a sense of comfortability between the pipes, he is a fundamentally sound goalkeeper. He would go onto save six shots.
Elseid Hysaj- 5
In his first start for Elseid in 2 weeks he would play well enough for Napoli, not making many mistakes. With Ghoulam starting on the other side he wouldn’t be much of a factor on the attack.
Raul Albiol- 6.5
For the Spanish Veteran, it would be the match of matches, as he was Able to be the difference maker in the 1-0 victory for Napoli, notching a corner kick header in the 35th minute. He also would hold his own on the backline.
Kalidou Koulibaly- 7
Another world-class performance by the Senegalese. He dominated the defensive end as well as being a threat on the attack as per usual. He was close twice in the second half to notching a goal.
Faouzi Ghoulam- 6
Again another strong performance by the Algerian. There is a sense of confidence from that position when he is in the match. He would come off in the 79th as he did look fatigued.
Jose Callejon- 5
It would be his first start since the horrible Liverpool loss. He again continues to be a liability when in the box as he could not finish his opportunities in the box. He remains a nice outlet out wide.
Marko Rog- 5
The Croatian international earned his first start in over a month. He would be active on the pitch but was no difference maker in the match. He had the first clear shot on goal for Napoli, but he took the wrong shot at goal and was saved by SPAL keeper Alfred Gomis.
The Napoli legend may be getting caught up with father time. He has had a string of bad matches and seems to have lost a step. Some rest may be needed but Napoli needs his leadership for the long haul.
Piotr Zielinski- 5.5
Another Mediocre performance by the Polish International. He could not take advantage of his opportunities, as his shots remain inaccurate. Defensively he has been solid helping with the battle in the midfield while moving in centrally giving Ghoulam space to attack from the outside.
Lorenzo Insigne- 6.5
Insigne has suffered a rough month of December so far and his slumps continued against SPAL. He would have his opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. Many teams have queued up Insigne knowing what kind of threat he is offensively.
Dries Mertens- 6.5
Insigne’s counterpart also has been quiet as of late. He wouldn’t get as many chances as Insigne, but like Insigne he draws a lot of attention. Ancelotti must stick with Milik, as he has the hot foot right now.
For Napoli of course gaining the three points is huge in the Scudetto race, but they still have work to do. SPAL was able to get some chances on goal, luckily Meret was ready to play this match. This week is a busy one, with two matches starting the day after Christmas, huge match against Inter and then finish with Bologna Saturday. We’ll see what kind of gift Napoli give it’s a faithful heading into the new year.