Saturday Afternoon in Studio San Paolo Napoli would return back to Serie A play. The last time we saw this club was the Piatek show, Milan’s new January signing would eliminate Napoli in the quarterfinals of Coppa Italia. Napoli is coming off a low point after last week, and to make matters worse Napoli would host a Sampdoria squad that would upset them back in Giornata three, winning 3-0. This would be a prove it match for Napoli.
For Napoli tactically they would stick to the 4-4-2. Sampdoria would use their usual 4-3-1-2, hoping to win the battle in the midfield, while transitioning quick. Napoli would keep their Giornata three embarrassment in the back of their head. Napoli born Fabio Quagliarella was chasing after Gabriel Battista,s record of most consecutive match goals in a Serie A season, Napoli would certainly look to put an end to that. Ancelotti would put together a lineup full of players who had something to prove.
From the beginning, we could see Napoli was still shaken, but they kept fighting and did not give up. In the 25th minute, Napoli would shake off the rust, as Jose Callejon would cross in a quality low cross in which Arkaduisz Milk would bang home to put Napoli up 1-0. Napoli would not stop there as a minute later Lorenzo Insigne would get the monkey off his back, as he would but a goal away. After the second goal Napoli would take control of this match, not even Quags could save Samp on this day. Substitute Simone Verdi would put a PK away in the 87th minute to put the nail on the coffin. Napoli would win on a final score 3-0.
Alex Meret- 7
The young Italian Goalkeeper should thank his back line because they really made his life easy on this match. Not to take away from his performance because he absolutely played well, any opportunity the Napoli backline gave Sampdoria, Meret would be prepared. He would add another clean sheet to the season.
Elseid Hysaj- 6
The Albanian had what was probably his best match of the season, as he was one of the players who needed to step up in this match. Defensively he would step up to make big plays and he seems to play with a little bit more determination than usual, it will be important for him to maintain this form as he is crucial for the rotation.
Nikola Maksimovic- 6.5
Possibly the player who had the biggest turn around out of any of the players from the last week in Milan. The Coppa Italia match was possibly the worse performance by the Serbian, a player who has come alive under Ancelotti when he wasn’t a regular under Sarri. He seemed lost in the Milan match, but in this match, he was much better positioning as well as playing more aware. He would even move up in contend balls in the midfield, he definitely has gained his confidence back. Great bounce back by Makso.
Kalidou Koulibaly- 8
The real question is does Kpulibaly ever have a bad match? The man again had a dominant performance. Being the last line of defense, as well always playing aggressively, especially with the tough assignment of defending Fabio Quagariella. He would involve himself a couple times in the attack. Overall great performance by the Senegalese.
After the antics in the last Serie A match from Mario Rui towards Ancelotti, Rui would get the start for this match, which would be a prove it match for him. Ancelotti must have had a conversation with Rui because he played well, he seemed more eager and confident in this match. As per usual he would contribute to the attack with attacks out wide, but defensively he would be a major contributor. We shall see if he maintains this form.
Jose Callejon- 7
Jose seems to have taken a sip from the fountain of youth because he has played at a different level the past couple matches. He would be a key contributor in this match, attacking out wide and making plays. He would tally two assists on the day, but more importantly, he covered a lot of ground on the pitch. For Napoli, it’s important that he remains in this form.
Michael Allan- 6.5
The Brazilian would be entrusted by Carlo Ancelotti despite his poor performance against Milan. Allan would be part of the group of players that would bounce back. He returned back to his dominating form in the midfield, running after the ball to gain back possession. Allan is the heart of the midfield, they usually dominate possession when he’s in the lineup, he will be key in his potential last couple of months with the club, if Napoli is to win a trophy this season.
What was probably the storyline after the match, Marek Hamsik had his best match of the season as well. The rumors are true, Marek Hamsik played his last match as the Napoli captain as he will be heading to China after months and months of rumors. As far as the match goes, Hamsik would send the fans off with a performance to be proud of. His passes were precise as was his positioning on the pitch, constantly moving around to create outlets for teammates to pass to. He would be subbed out Amadou Diawara in the 74 the minute.
Piotr Zielinski – 6.5
It was another solid performance by the Polish Midfielder as he would join in his team’s success. He has shown Carlo Ancelotti consistency which is key for Napoli. He was active in both boxes constantly after the ball. He would have a couple of opportunities but couldn’t get a goal.
Lorenzo Insigne- 7.5
Finally, Insigne has gotten out of his flunk, after not having scored a goal in over three months he was rewarded on Saturday with a goal. The last couple of matches you could tell he was gaining frustration from his slump, and it took him 20 minutes to rise back up from his slump, Insigne seems to be returned to form. He would be subbed out in the 83rd minute for Simone Verdi.
Milik had a match to forget as well in Milan, but he would bounce back like the rest of the club. He had the opening goal as he made a great run from the Callejon ground pass. All night he was a constant threat in the box creating chances and remains the number one option up top which will be HUGE for Napoli.
Amoudou Diawara- 5.5
He would come in the 74th minute for the captain Marek Hamsik. He mainly would come into help seal the win as he would be placed in his usual traditional Central Defensive Midfielder role. He did his role and had a solid 20 minutes.
Simone Verdi- 6.5
Verdi would be back after a slight setback with an injury. He came in the 83rd minute for Lorenzo Insigne. He manages to even score on this day, an 87th minute Pk would help seal the win. If fitness remains healthy, Ancelotti will expect Verdi to handle a bigger workload.
Adam Ounas- 4
He would come in the 90th minute for Milik, and he wouldn’t do much in a short amount of time.
To top this match off, Napoli would win by the same margin Sampdoria won by back in Giornata three. This was a positive result for Napoli, gaining three points in a day that Juventus dropped points is crucial. More importantly, Ancelotti’s squad responded after a negative result in Milan in back to back matches, especially for the group of players who needed to step it up, they responded in this match. It has restored hope for the Napoli faithful, after the sad news that came down about Marek Hamsik’s departure for China, which is a story that is still developing. Unfortunately for Napoli, the road will not get easy as they now must travel to Fiorentina for the next Giornata, a club that is red hot right now, and who for Napoli the must exercise old demons in Tuscan country.