It’s too early for Napoli fans to boast ‘Gonzalo who?’, but after the turmoil of his summer move to Juventus, there appears a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is Arkadiusz Milik, the Polish striker who has opened his Neapolitan career with a bang.
The €35 million signing from Ajax already looks at home at the Stadio San Paolo. He has notched four goals in two appearances there. After a 15 minute brace to open the scoring against Milan, Milik turned last Saturday’s match with Bologna around in just 13 minutes.
His first goal was superb. Milik latched on to a perfectly weighted Marek Hamsik pass to net with his first touch. The 22-year-old was then on hand to drill in a low shot at the near post to make the score 3-1. With that brace – his second in as many matches following the Champions League triumph at Dynamo Kiev in midweek – Napoli returned to the top of Serie A.
They last occupied the position during 2015-16, when Higuain’s goals offered a sight at the Scudetto. That was snuffed out by Juventus, but they hope to be around the mark once more this term.
Not that Maurizio Sarri is getting carried. “The economic difference with Juventus is so vast, not just for us but every Italian competitor, that they’ll have the kind of campaign that Bayern Munich have in Germany, PSG in France and Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain.” The boss went on to say that Napoli would need the Bianconeri to mess up in order to claim the Scudetto.
He was full of praise for Milik’s start to the season, stating: “I was surprised by Milik’s scoring rate, but not by his performances, because I knew he was very strong.” However, Sarri urged caution and patience with the youngster. “He cannot be compared to the top players and must be given the time and space to grow.”
Yet Milik and Jose Callejon are Napoli’s in-form men in front of goal, sharing nine goals between them in Serie A. The pair will be important on Wednesday as the Partenopei face a tricky away trip to Genoa. The Grifoni are coming off a first loss of the season, against Sassuolo, after opening with two victories. Napoli have a good recent record in this fixture, going unbeaten in the previous four trips – including three wins.
Another triumph at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris will have Napoli well positioned ahead of winnable matches against Chievo and Atalanta. Given Milik’s start in the blue shirt, expect him to play an important role.
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