Depth is of paramount importance to any title contender looking to take the next step with their project and propel themself into the upper echelons of football’s best. A simple inventory check of their reserves paints a very clear picture of which clubs have a strong 11-13 and who has strength in numbers up and down the teamsheet.
Believe it or not, but you can tell an awful lot about what a club’s objectives are and where they are headed based on the quality of their 14th, 15th and 16th player. For instance, Juventus, Napoli’s main nemesis, have a star-studded XI, but a stocked second team that is quite capable of competing at a high level.
On matchday 1 vs Parma, the Bianconeri‘s bench included the following notables: Gianluigi Buffon, Emre Can, Mario Mandzukic, Matthijs de Ligt, Paulo Dybala, Adrien Rabiot, Juan Cuadrado, Rodrigo Bentacur and Federico Bernardeschi. This list excludes Aaron Ramsey who, although injured, will likely be one of the first names summoned, lending even more credence to a Maurizio Sarri squad equipped to navigate a long, grueling season and last in the end.
So, if Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli‘s aim is to knock Juventus from off their perch and dethrone them as Serie A champions this season, then it will take all hands on deck and elevated performances from those fringe players with something to prove, including Amin Younes. Continue reading