Napoli have been making the headlines for all the right reasons since the start of this season, as their attacking and entertaining football has taken Europe by storm. Under the management of Maurizio Sarri, I Ciucciarelli have been a force to be reckoned with, and many believe that for the first time in several years, there finally exists a better team than Juventus in Italian football.
Amid all the comparison and hype, we take a look at 5 reasons why Napoli could seriously go on to win the Scudetto this season:
1. Undefeated in the Serie A
Napoli have begun the ongoing campaign surprisingly well, and they remain undefeated in the league so far. Out of the 9 Serie A games played, they have won 8 and drawn 1, accumulating 25 points in the process. In fact, Maurizio Sarri’s men boasted a 100% win record until they faced second-placed Inter Milan this Saturday, but the mega clash ended in a goalless stalemate, resulting in the San Paulo outfit dropping their first points on the season.
If Napoli can manage to build on this fine start and continue winning games in the Serie A, they stand a great chance of finally displacing Juventus from the top of Italian football.
2. Goal-scoring brilliance
Gli Azzurri have been the highest goal-scorers in the Serie A this season, having already hit the back of the net 26 times. The team’s frontline, mainly consisting of Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon, and Lorenzo Insigne, has been in blazing hot form, and the trio has genuinely hit the ground running under Sarri’s attacking philosophy.
With Mertens already involved in 9 goals (7 goals, 2 assists), Callejon in 6 (4G, 2A), and Insigne in 7 (3G, 4A), this world-class Napoli attack appears to be extremely effective and threatening for all the defences in not just Italy, but the whole of Europe. If these three forwards continue creating and scoring goals with the same effect throughout the campaign, no team would dare come in the way of Napoli and the decorated Serie A trophy.
3. Their focus remains on the Serie A
Despite being a part of several major competitions, manager Maurizio Sarri himself confirmed that their prime focus remains on the domestic titles, especially the Serie A.
Speaking to Mediaset Premium after his side’s recent goalless draw against Inter Milan, he revealed: “To be honest, I see my team more motivated in Serie A compared to Europe. We played at a high level of determination for 95 minutes, whereas in Manchester it was for 55 minutes. City have an extraordinary technical and tactical level, but the feeling I get is that the players care more about Serie A.
“The Champions League is tiring, but it’s also a wonderful thing to take part in and we ought to give it our best. We’ll pay whatever price we need to. I think it’s a subconscious thing. If in our minds we feel more competitive in Serie A than in the Champions League, that might be a difficult thing to shake off. After all, we don’t have that much of a chance to go all the way in Europe, but we do want to put in a great tournament performance.”
This statement goes on to show that the league title remains of utmost priority for the Naples-based outfit, and they will allow no distractions, no matter how glorious, to keep them from achieving their primary objective for the current campaign.
4. They have Pep Guardiola’s seal of approval
You know your club has been playing sensational football when one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best, labels your team as one of the best opponents he has ever faced. That is precisely what Guardiola thought of Napoli following the Italian side’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Man City at the Etihad last week.
Speaking after the Champions League clash, the Spanish tactician stated: “I did expect the game to go to 90 minutes because Napoli are an exceptional team. They have a big ability to make short passes. It is one of best teams I have ever faced as a professional. That is why I am so proud, because you cannot beat Napoli unless you produce a good performance.”
Pep also expressed his confidence in Napoli going all the way in the Serie A, by adding: “I knew before we played and I know now — they are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment. It’s one of the wins I’m most proud of in my whole career. Napoli, for the way they play, of course they can win the league.”
When a coach as decorated and experienced as this former Barcelona man says so, you better believe it!
5. Maurizio Sarri
Maurizio Sarri may not look like your average football manager – a weathered-looking ex-banker who is likely to be spotted wearing a tracksuit and smoking cigarettes on the training ground, and has never played the sport professionally, appears to be the exact opposite when compared to the likes of Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte.
However, his teams are every bit as effective as the two aforementioned coaches when on the field, as evident from the beautiful football Napoli have been playing under his guidance. The Italian tactician’s teams play free-flowing quick one-touch attacking football, whilst usually being deployed in a 4-3-3 formation. Sarri’s men typically play as one collective unit, with their aim being solely to attack the opposition goal, and never sit back.
Though the 58-year-old coach is yet to win major silverware, many football pundits and fans alike believe that this could be the year his team breaks Juventus’ stronghold on the Scudetto, and writes its own name in the history books.
Described by Inter boss Luciano Spalletti as “aliens,” this Napoli team does appear to be special, and if persistent and consistent enough, the Italian outfit could not only win the Serie A this season, but also establish itself as one of the new powerhouses of modern European football.
Written by Kunal Kambli
An introverted grammar pedantic who worships football and loves writing about it. Part of the BlameFootball team since 2016.