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Napoli - Operation Domination

Started on 9 April 2014 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 13 August 2014 by Walter
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Super detailed update, a great read. Some tough results but I know you'll bounce back :)
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
9 yearsEdited

October - Battle For First

Verona vs Napoli
Napoli vs Inter Milan
Real Madrid vs Napoli
Sampdoria vs Napoli
Napoli vs Avellino

Alvarez Balanta has put in a great string of performances for his side, Napoli. So it was a big shock when the South American didn't feature against Verona. One of the few smaller sides in the Serie A to actually trouble this well pieced Napoli side.

Albiol took the Colombian's place next to Jesus and performed out of his skin. It was as if he was Napoli born and bred. Playing for every ball, making every tackle. A little like his teammate Hamsik, further up the field. Raul got his reward for his fine display early on when he nodded in a cross from his Slovak leader.

That one Slovak leader also got his just deserts when he was played in by his partner in crime Nicusor Stanciu. Marek hammered the ball from 18yrds out and it hit the back of the net which made the score 2-0 to Napoli.

Hamsik seemed to be leading by example. A switch of places for him and Stanciu in the second half. Hamsik, owed the ever prospering Romanian and repaid him with a delicious pass through the Verona defense which he pounced on and made sure the ball would hit the net. Napoli went on to win the game 3-0.

The biggest game of the Serie A so far has to be this next one. Napoli vs Inter Milan. LAst year, Milan failed to overcome their big rivals Napoli but this year they finally got what they were looking for in a tight game against the Partenopei.

there was only one goal scored throughout the entire 90 minutes of football played. This goal came from an unlikely source in Inter's attacking midfielder, Ricardo Alvarez. Longo and Alvarez played a quick one two with one another, as the ball was travelling to Longo, Alvarez made a quick run into space and was put in by his team mates brilliant first touch. He was now behind enemy lines and he smashed it hard and true into the bottom right, to win the game late.

Now for one of the most important game Napoli would have in this years Champions League. It was do, or pretty much die here against Real Madrid. At the Santiago Bernabeu, no one gave Napoli a chance, but they put in the performance worthy of a Champions League Winners Medal. Well...The attack did.

Gareth Bale scored the first goal of the game which sent the entire stadium into raptures after total dominance from the Italians. The goal was well appreciated, but the Madrid fans were soon left feeling blue when Juan Jesus connected well with Insigne's corner ball into the Real Madrid box.

Even more so, when Mertens took the ball past Carvajal and crossed into Higuain who directed the ball past Casillas to take the lead in the 80th minute.
Napoli missed out on their precious three points though, as Frans Sol, and unknown Madrid youth star scored the equalizer in the 88th minute. Napoli were as good as out of the Champions League now.

Napoli got on their way back to Italy after the disappointment of the Real Madrid game, but they didn't sit and mope around. They rallied round, kept their heads held high and went into the last two matches of the month with fire in their bellies.

Sampdoria would succumb to a demolishing at their own home. Inler doesn't score many, but he scored twice today in this terrific win for Baggio's side. He opened up the game with a goal from the spot which was tucked neatly between the keepers hands and the right post.
He scored again two minutes after his first when Mertens touched down a long ball on the touchline, and pulled the ball back to the tireless midfielder who slotted it into a empty net.

The third goal came from absolute brilliance. Casteels punted the ball long up the field and Moura ran onto the ball, touching it ever so slightly away from the Sampdoria left back whilst controlling the ball at the same time. He ran on a little further, took on another player and drilled it into Higuain who scored to make the score 3-0 before half time.

Napoli ended the route on 60 minutes. Mertens got his team's fourth goal of the game when Moura shot right at the keeper who parried the ball out to the left, where Dries was stood to place the ball into an open goal.

Avellino are a newly promoted side and have so far only managed to win two games in the nine games they have played. Both of these wins coming away to Fiorentina and at home to Roma. So Napoli should by no means be taking anything for granted here. even if they are 20th in the table.

Despite their capabilities against bigger sides, Avellino really felt the pressure here and were terrible throughout the entire game. It was as if they weren't bothered. They let Napoli run the show. The Azzurri got a goal 20 minutes in due to Ariaudo deflecting the ball into his own net from a Napoli corner.

Higuain scored twice either side of the game too. The most notable being a fantastic header from one of Mertens quite brilliant crosses. Mertens also scored in the second half, right before Avellino saw Giorgos Katidis walk off the field after collecting a second yellow card which showed just how bad of a day Avellino were having.

Thoughts On The Report

Baggio: Once again, it's not been a great month. It was quite good though, sad to drop points to Inter Milan though but we weren't good enough so I think a loss is justified. We were very unlucky against Real as well. The lads were left distraught after that late late goal but I am proud of their ability to keep their heads up and end the month on a big big high.

Hamsik: This month was all about the mental strength in the squad and I really think it showed. We were all a bit saddened to drop points so late against Madrid but to end the month the way we did was truly sensational. Even if it was just Avellino and Sampdoria. I am happy with the way we performed but we can definitely do better. Definitely. I'll be trying my hardest to rally the lads round and start tearing up the league soon. We want to win the league. So we shall win it.
It was if he was Napoli born and bread.

Good work on using new words! :D
Neal: Can you read lad?

2014-07-26 18:28#186513 AaronHJFT96 :
It was as if he was Napoli born and bred.

November - Complacency A Stumbling Block

Napoli vs Real Madrid
Napoli vs Catania
Livorno vs Napoli
Napoli vs Juventus
Monaco vs Napoli
Sassuolo vs Napoli

Napoli's first game of a dismal October began at the Soa Paolo against Real Madrid. This match would ultimately decide their fate in the Champions League. Should they lose, they would be knocked out, with just Europa League football to compete for. Should they win, little hope would remain for the Azzurri in the competition.

Gareth Bale kick started the match with the first goal. This time early on in the match. His free kick from around 22 yards out curled around the outside of the wall and curled just enough to creep past the inside of the left goal post.

The Welshman scored a few minutes later, but this time from the spot. Alvarez Balanta conceded a penalty in the 20th minute which led to Bale putting Real two goals to the good. Despite going two down, Napoli hit back with a taste of Madrid's own medicine, attacking in large numbers. Wave after wave of attack, Real could barely hold on.

They held on for long enough it seems though. Napoli did actually score seven minutes before the end of the game. Lucas Moura the man who tucked away a neat finish from a clear cut chance. That was it though. All Napoli could play for now, was Europa league football. A good result against Monaco would most definitely see that them through.

Right after their defeat to Madrid, the team would travel all the way back to Italy, where they would start their preparations for an encounter with Catania in two days time.

These preparations were unsuccessful for this match. A disappointing result and performance all round for Napoli as they were victim to a 2-1 defeat in their own city.
Sebastien Leto, Catania's current Serie A top scorer scored their first goal just after twenty minutes, and just before 30 minutes hit, Francesco Lodi netted their second.

Napoli left it to late to pull their socks up and so...Their first goal coming from Raul Albiol was all to late to help them save a point. 90 minutes had already passed, Napoli weren't going to get another. hey would have to put up with their second Serie A loss of the season.

They earned just the one extra point when they faced Livorno away from home. Napoli went behind a minute into the second half. A timely chipped effort from Federico Dionisi beat Casteels who came of his line to try his best to close down the striker, who was in a one on one situation with the Belgian keeper.

Gonzalo Higuain saved Napoli's bacon just a minute later though. Fiamozzi zipped a cross into the near post where Rodrigo Gomez was able touch the ball down and pull it back to Napoli's main striker Higuain who struck the ball before any defenders could get near him. The scores were level, and that's the way it stayed.

A big game was drawing ever closer now. The Sao Paolo was about to hos what would be on of the biggest games this season. A game that would decide who would go top of the table, and who would go or stay second.
Would Napoli stay top of the league? Or would the Old Lady break the hearts of Partenopei fans and celebrate making it to the top of the Serie A league table.

Napoli started off terribly. Yet another red card for the season in the FIRST minute of the game. William Carvalho, would take an early...In fact a very early bath after a horror tackle on Croation Ivan Rakitic.

Napoli made some quick tactical changes to their formation. Goran Pandev would have to make way for Blaise Matuidi as Napoli switched to an ultra defensive tactic. The changes worked for a surprisingly long time, but after an hour of tireless attacking from Juventus, they finally got the breakthrough from Llorente. Finally they had broken down the packed defense and scored from a cross which penetrated through the Partenopei back line leaving Llorente in a position to tap the ball home with his head.

A while later, Alvaro Negredo put the game beyond Napoli late in the game. Juventus would take top spot from Napoli...But for how long?

Their fifth game of the Champions league group stage. Napoli would need a great win here to head into the Europa League, and didn't they do just that. Through the entire first half, the sky blues dominated the game but unfortunately got no goals.

It took until the second half where we would finally see Riccardo Fiamozzi overlap Pereyra who had the ball on the right. Pereyra's vision allowed him to make a quick short pass which opened up the Monaco defense like a tin of beans. Fiamozzi cushioned the ball with his left, and the momentum let it spin up his shin and he belted a well connected volley which hit the far left corner.

Hamsik scored just before the 70th minute struck with a header from a fantastic ball into the box by Hojbjerg. The skipper directed well out of the keepers reach and managed to beat the Argentine, Sergio Romero.

Falcao scored only two minutes later but his goal would mean nothing to his side. Monaco were knocked out of Europe's biggest footballing stage to the hands of Napoli.

Napoli finished up the month with their second win in a row. Finally, a decent amount of points to take away from a Serie A match. Their form has been poor all month in the league, but finally they found their feet and ripped apart their opposition Sassuolo and even managed to take back their 'rightful' position at the top of the table.

4-0 away from home! A fantastic result for Baggio's team. Pereyra managed to bag a brace between 16 and 87 minutes whilst Alvarez Balanta scored a header from a corner mid way into the second half. Higuain finished Sassuolo off with another header. This time a cross from Murru ensured the clinical striker could get down low and head the ball into the bottom corner.

Thoughts On The Report

Baggio: A poor month. That's the only way to put it. Luckily we regained top spot due to Juventus slipping up at Catania. But we must, must, must improve. A horrible month. Thankfully, we ended it with two wins like we did in October. That will earn us top spot in the Serie A and a place in the Europa League Round of 16. Our performances will improve. We got complacent, it shall not happen again.

Hamsik: A disappointing month. I am honestly shocked. We didn't play half as good as we have been in previous months. I am shocked at some of the performances I have witnessed this month. But I am mostly shocked at my own. I have let the team, the manager and myself down. I did not lead the team as well as I can and this shall improve. We won;t win the league like this. We must keep our heads held high, and we must seize any chances to take three points from League games.
Really a poor month, especially with Carvalho ruining the game against Juventus to lose your lead atop the table. At least you are in the Europa League :P

December - Festive Cheer

Napoli vs Lazio | Serie A
Napoli vs Manchester City | Champions League
Chievo vs Napoli | Serie A
Napoli vs Milan | Serie A

The month of December was nearly upon us, and were closing in on the half way mark of the season, but before we get there. We still have four matches to take a look at. First being Napoli vs Lazio. A fixture which Roberto Baggio has won twice, in two games. A fixture that his side has scored six goals in, in just those two games.

Napoli would add their goal scoring record against Lazio to ten in this game in a huge 4-0 win, which the club early needed after a horrid November. Zapata dinked a well placed chip over the top of Marchetti which moved his side in front. The Colombian doubled the lead five minutes later.

Marek Hamsik put the game beyond Lazio on the 40th minute mark which left Napoli fans buzzing for the second half. Only one more goal would be scored though, and this came from Insigne who took in a pass with the outside of his foot, controlling it well before bending it into the far bottom corner.

The Napoli Ultras were left saddened after this next game against Manchester City. The Azzurri were defeated once again by the Citizens as they were seen out of the Champions League and into the Europa League.

Napoli had a poor game, and this was proved as James Milner actually scored two against them. His first goal came early in the second half when Pastore had his back to goal with the ball, still managing to slip the hardworking midfielder in where he could shoot at the top left corner of the goal to make the score 1-0.

His second goal came late, from a lapse in Napoli's concentration. Yaya Toure had the ball in the middle of the park slightly to the left side, and every Napoli player shifted toward the left, without realizing Milner was pacing down the left wing to pick up Toure's long pass into space. THe winger then had all the time in the world to shoot and score. The game ended 2-0. Napoli were definitely out of the Champions League, but into the Europa League!

Chievo would now travel to Napoli for a highly anticipated match. And that it was...For the Napoli fans of course, who watched their team cruise to a 3-1 victory over the Clivensi. The win came late, despite it looking like it'd come early.

Napoli took the lead just ten minutes in with Stanciu scoring a well driven shot into the bottom right corner from inside the box. The Romanian received the assist from Inler who would see himself win the match with an 84th minute penalty.

But not before Chievo could equalize. Yes, they equalized ten minutes before the Partenopei actually won the game. Paul Papp scoring the only goal they were able to collect.
Stanciu actually bagged a brace as well as he scored from a few yards out with a tap in as he took in a great cross from Hojbjerg on the left.

Time for revenge now, Napoli would be looking to beat A.C. Milan in their first encounter since the Italian Super Cup Final.
The game was more like fight as we saw seven yellow's dished out to players of either side and an injury for Dodo in the last ten minutes.

It was Napoli who started brightly scoring through Higuain. Higuain's fantastic shot nearly ripped the net from 20 yards out, as the Argentinian pounced on Zaccardo's poor touch as the defender went in for an interception.

Kevin Mirralas equalized ten minutes later, at a time where A.C. Milan looked to be in the driving seat. And Monolivo bagged himself a goal from a free kick which tricked the Napoli goal keeper into thinking it was going one way before curling the other way and dipping downward.

A.C. Milan won the game late on yet again, and Napoli would be left to wait for revenge. Surely they'd be able to get it next time at home though?Well, it won't be easy at the San Siro but they'll have to go for it.

Thoughts On The Report

Baggio: We've had a fairly good month. Certainly better than the last. The game against Man City didn't really matter so instead I just played a few of the younger players so that they could experience the Champions League for the first time. The loss was expected anyway. We also got six out of nine points which does please me, as we were unlucky against Milan. But, it still needs to improve. We can't keep losing these matches.

Hamsik: I am happy with this month. Not with the Milan game of course but I assure you we will get them back. Very soon we will get them back. The team is all determined to fight back and play better so that we shall do. I'll say it again. We want to win the league. I want it so bad it's really too hard to explain it. We will beat others to it, we just need to improve our defending. Hopefully when Dodo and Alvarez are back from injury in a week we can do this. Onwards and upwards.
Shame about those City and Milan results, seemed like the biggest games of the month :/
Milner dismantled you :))
Great to see this story return Aaron!
Unlucky about the City and Milan results, but a great update and still a fairly good month!
Jack: Yeah, well the Milan game was probably the biggest but the City game wasn't at all important because we were already out and in the Europa league!

Neal: Shuddup. ;)

Pompey: I'm glad I brought it back! Don't really know why I stopped it to be honest. Yes, it was a decent month too!

Gaffer Unfazed By Recent Performances

Napoli have had a good start to the season. They currently sit top of the table after a few slip ups from Juventus. The Azzurri have done well to get where they are and are considered lucky to be there after losses to the bigger teams in the league. i.e. Juventus, Inter and Milan.

They have done what others haven't though, which is beat the smaller teams. The bigger sides in the league bar them have not done this, and seem to be underestimating them. It wasn't long ago that Fiorentina and Roma both lost to bottom of the league side Avellino. A team Napoli had just demolished 4-0.

Despite their slip ups to the title challengers around them, Napoli boss Roberto Baggio is unfazed by those recent poor performances and has told La Gazetta that his team has no need to strengthen this January, and he's not planning on bringing any kind of signings in.

Our squad is a very strong one. It's easy to see that. Admittedly, a few of our performances have been no where near good enough and they must improve. Milan, Inter, Juventus...All top sides. Top top sides. No doubt. Although, so are we. We currently stand as the best team in Italy, and we are top of the league as of today.

Our squad does not need to change, it just needs it's defensive responsibilities drilled into it's head. On our day we can outscore any opponent, but right now it's rare that we keep a clean sheet. We will improve by working on our weakness'. You don't always need to add players to strengthen the squad.

Say I signed a big defensive star. I don't know... Gerard Pique for example. Fantastic player. Should play game in game out. Now...What do I do with Juan Jesus and Balanta? Well I'll have to rotate the pair. Those two players are absolutely brilliant and right now, as a partnership I think they are the best in the league. Maybe they have let in a lot of goals but don't forget, the defense is the whole teams responsibility. Not just the two centre backs. In the defensive department, our wing backs, and midfielders have not done enough and that is what we have to work on.
Baggio seems confident :) Hopefully it pays off :)
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
9 yearsEdited

Will Pressure Get The Better Of Napoli?

We've finally hit the January transfer window now, and at the half way point in the season we see Napoli at the top of the Serie A table, but not by much. Juventus sit just behind them waiting to pounce on any slip ups they make.

Napoli manager Roberto Baggio claimed that he doesn't need to make any signings to solidify the defensive areas in his side, and thinks his team can win the league without any mid season squad additions.

Baggio, believes that all there is to do is work hard in training. His squad is a big one and certainly a young one with a lot of talent. He has a squad with more than enough players to rotate with, and it does look as though his squad just needs to improve with age.

Being as strong and as talented as it is, it's predicted this squad could become one of the greatest Italy has ever seen. You could go as far as saying this squad will become one of the best in Europe, if not the World in years to come.

Anyway, despite Baggio's claims, former Italy boss and current Juventus manager Cesare prandelli has put his thoughts into the equation by giving his view on the Partenopei's title chances.
He spoke to La Gazetta in an interview just before Juventus' game against Atlanta, and made his opinion clear there.

Prandelli: "Napoli will choke under the pressure this time round. Last season was a one off. Juventus were not good enough to win the league, but after my improvements on Conte's team in the summer, and this coming transfer window, we will be stronger than any side Italy has ever witnessed.

Baggio thinks he can win the league with no additions to his squad. Baggio is wrong. Whilst training helps a lot towards developing your philosophies and ideas, you still need that something, that extra bit of flair that can win you games in the last few minute. Because that's what title winning teams do. They don't batter each team 5-0 game in game out, they constantly scrape narrow wins whilst every now and then battering other sides.

That's my view anyway. I highly doubt Napoli will be able to cope when we strengthen this winter. They have a good squad, that's for sure. But they won't be able to deal with us, we will win the league this season. For sure."
Hopefully you won't, great start to the season!

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