Serie A Team of the Round – Napoli

Just one shout-out win with multiple goals in this round and it belonged to Napoli, as Sampdoria find themselves again on the wrong end of the column despite showing some improvements compared to the first two outings.

The Partenopei wanted to put behind them a very bitter loss to Juventus considering the way it went down, while they had prevailed over Fiorentina in the opener. Carlo Ancelotti tweaked his system moving Fabian Ruiz back to pivot, Piotr Zielinski filled in for the banged up Lorenzo Insigne on the left flank and Hirving Lozano partnered Dries Mertens up front. Elijf Elmas and Nikola Maksimovic gave Allan and Kostas Manolas a breather ahead the mammoth Champions League clash with Liverpool.

In the first few minutes, after Ruiz challenged Audero from distance, the Blucerchiati had a big chance with Alex Ferrari from few meters out on a corner kick, but Alex Meret managed to slap the ball away as he was falling down.

Napoli quickly got the lead with a choral action, moving swiftly the ball from flank to flank and culminating on a low cross by Giovanni Di Lorenzo that Dries Mertens impeccably slotted on the near post with a snap shot. Elmas almost doubled the lead right away but sent his cross-shot from great spot wide. Same faith for a daisy-cutter by Lozano from the edge of the box.

After Mertens hit the crossbar from difficult position in the box, the Genoa-based side had its best chance to score as Fabio Quagliarella sprung Emiliano Rigoni loose with an imaginative through ball, but the winger could not put it past Meret, who came out beautifully.

The Azzurri’s defensive phase improved in the second half and never risked too concretely even as the adversaries got increasingly more offensive with their subs. Instead, it was an Ancelotti’s move that generated the second goal as he inserted Fernando Llorente and after two minutes the Spaniard kept his cool after the ball spilled out to him deep in the box and rather than attempting a difficult finish he set up the trailing Mertens, who tucked it in the empty net with the help of a deflection.

José Callejon almost had a superb goal on a volley but Audero brilliantly denied him. The Blucerchiati had another chance in the final stages but Albin Ekdal could not latch onto a great square ball by Manolo Gabbiadini. Insigne did enter the game late and barely missed the target with one of his signature little curled shot.

In the fantasy game, Dries Mertens paced everybody with his ten points, followed by Di Lorenzo and Meret that got seven. Most of the defenders snatched five for not conceding, the same reason that gave two to the majority of the midfielders. Llorento grabbed two points for his assist.

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