Serie A Club of the Round – Napoli

napoli

An easy call for club of the week this time around, as Napoli quickly disposed of Frosinone on Saturday. As he often does, Carlo Ancelotti looked ahead, at the decisive Champions League clash with Liverpool coming on Tuesday, and spared some of his best men: Raul Albiol, José Callejon, Fabian Ruiz and Dries Mertens. Sebastiano Luperto, Adam Ounas and Arkadiusz Milik drew the start.

It was an evening of debuts and returns, as Alex Meret was between the sticks for the first time after being sidelined by an early forearm fracture, Faouzi Ghoulam got the first start in over a year and Amin Younes played his first minutes with the Azzurri after recovering from an Achilles tear.

The Partenopei did not mess around and got the lead after seven minutes, as Piotr Zielinski got the ball on the left corner of the box after a back and forth and rifled it in close to the the far post with a lefty daisy cutter.

Meret made his first, and basically only, save on a long lob and ambitious by Raffaele Maiello. With five minutes to go in the first half, Ounas blasted it home from 20 meters out with a thunderous lefty strike, sealing the contest.

Milik was denied by Marco Sportiello on a point-blank attempt before the break, but he did put his name in the scoresheet twice in the second half. At the 68th minute, he buried a header off a corner kick, then he poked it home in the stoppage time on a tasty delivery by Ghoulam.

Only some miraculous saves by Sportiello, in particular on Lorenzo Insigne, avoided an even more lopsided score. Napoli had just one risk defensively, on an errant backwards header by Kalidou Koulibaly where Luperto and Meret collided trying to get to it, but the ball ended up going out-of-bounds.

Napoli collected the sixth win in their last eight fixtures, answered to Juventus, therefore maintaining the eight-point gap, and built a six-point lead over Inter in the race for the second spot.

It was obviously a wealthy loot fantasy-wise: Ghoulam paced his teammates with nine points, since he had two dimes in the game, Milik followed with his eight, while Meret and Kalidou Koulibaly both earned seven. Ounas picked up six for his astounding performances, then the rest of the defenders racked up five, alongside Zielinski, and the midfielders two for the clean sheet. Two points also for Lorenzo Insigne too, who set up the opening goal.

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