Familiar faces met yet again last night at the San Siro as Gennaro Gattuso and his mentor Carlo Ancelotti squared off in a clash between Milan and Napoli.
The first half of action saw the Rossoneri assert themselves and threaten to go ahead, while the visitors swung momentum in their favor after the break only to see several attempts go awry.
In the end, the two played to a 0-0 draw. Here are four takeaways from the Partenopei’s stalemate in Milano:
Kévin Malcuit makes Hysaj expendable in the XI: The veteran fullback arrived from Lille last summer, and had to make the most of the little minutes he was dealt by Ancelotti early on. But as Hysaj’s form dropped off from what we were accustomed to seeing over the past few years, Malcuit has forced his way into the XI with one solid shift after the other. Last night, the Frenchman bombed down the right flank, countered quickly, posed as an attacking outlet with a steady diet of accurate crosses and pressed high. If he keeps this up, Ancelotti will look long and hard at who should be the regular starter going forward.
Amadou Diawara deserves larger role at Napoli: With the departure of Jorginho to Chelsea, Marek Hamsik undertaking a deeper role and Fabian Ruiz arriving, Amadou Diawara’s role came under question entering the campaign. Despite talks of an exit, Ancelotti was adamant the Guinean was a key player for Napoli this season, but his limited usage says otherwise. Unlike Sarri and his steadfast commitment to a select crew, Ancelotti has opened competition for a role in the XI. But with Allan, Piotr Zielinski and Ruiz at the top of the pecking order, it makes you wonder whether the Italian boss values him the way he mentioned. Diawara has shown tremendous promise since arriving to the San Paolo, and was widely considered the long-term replacement for Jorginho. It’s time that he is treated as such. Otherwise, his future in Naples beyond 2018/19 is in serious doubt.
Lorenzo Insigne better suited in free role up front: A night to forget for the local boy Insigne. The Italian was deployed out on the left in an offensively-loaded 442, yet lacked sharpness, influence and the cutting edge a player of his caliber is capable of. A match of this importance was calling for a solo moment of brilliance from Insigne to decide it, but it never arrived. While it is a one off performance, and you cannot place a ton of credence in it, Insigne must be positioned up front next to Milik so that he has more creative control and freedom.
Allan must be retained at all costs: The recent Brazilian National Team commit has been the subject of major transfer rumors linking him to a massive move to Paris Saint-Germain. Although Napoli’s €120m price tag frustrated, scared off and ultimately force the French giants to snap up Leandro Paredes instead, Ancelotti gave him the match off due to the entire saga. To no surprise, the energetic force and disruptor‘s absence was felt as Napoli struggled in the midfield trenches with Bakayoko bossing yet again. It goes without saying, but Napoli must retain Allan at all costs. He is the engine that drives Napoli and in the prime of his career, cannot be properly replaced on the market.
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