Serie A Club of the Week – Round 19

napoli

There were not many contenders for Serie A club of the week: Sampdoria met the criteria but they came through extremely later after blah performance in a cozy match-up. So the award goes to the Winter champions, Napoli, and it is a much-deserved recognition for all the work they have done in the first half of the season.

The Crotone game was a microcosm of that. The Partenopei started strong and basically scored at the first opportunity, with a precise lefty strike by Marek Hamsik from just outside of the box, sweetly set up by Allan. It was the third goal in a row for the veteran midfielder. Lorenzo Insigne almost doubled the lead few minutes later after a nice three-man combination with Allan and José Callejon, but Alex Cordaz deflected the ball over the bar.

The goalkeeper kept his team in the game in the second half as well, as he denied good attempts by José Callejon and Amadou Diawara. Lorenzo Insigne also hit the bar with one his customary shots a la Del Piero. Dries Mertens once again had a quiet game battling the Sharks’ defenders.

The home team produced only a couple of chances, with two shots from distance, one by Adrian Stoian at the start of the second half, which died a little wide, and one with Giovanni Crociata, which was parried away by Pepe Reina. Napoli basically brought home the three points without ever getting past their second gear and once again showed that they have become automatic against lowly opponents, something that instead held them back in the Scudetto race in previous years.

José Reina collected seven points, Kalidou Koulibaly and Elseid Hysaj five thanks to the clean sheet, Raul Albiol one less because he was booked. Marek Hamsik gathered six thanks to the decisive goal, while all midfielders got two because they did not conced, Allan four as a result of the assist and Jorginho one due to a yellow card.

Napoli remain engaged in an intense duel with Juventus atop of the standings, while they both have separated themselves from Inter and Roma, which have not been able to keep up with their irresistible pace.

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