Had you asked most Inter fans if they would take a draw prior to Saturday night’s clash against Juventus, the vast majority would have been content to say the very least.
With that in mind, Interisti would have been truly ecstatic had they known Napoli would then drop points at home to Fiorentina knowing that a win would take them back to the top of Serie A.
Maurizio Sarri’s charges were expected to beat the Tuscan side comfortably, but creating clear-cut goalscoring opportunities once again proved problematic for Marek Hamšík, Dries Mertens et al.
As is to be expected, the Partenopei had the lion’s share of possession – 62% to be exact – but did very little with it and only forced Viola goalkeeper Marco Sportiello into action four times throughout the entire match.
The Vesuviani were scoring goals for fun until the latter part of November, but have now managed to find the net just twice in their last four matches.
Clearly, the side’s patchy form is due to a variety of factors, not least recent injury problems endured by the likes of Faouzi Ghoulam and Lorenzo Insigne. Their squad is light in certain positions and clearly their inability to cope with the odd injury must be cause for concern.
Truth be told, they have been a shadow of their free-flowing selves since the aforementioned Algerian left-back was sidelined, showing just how crucial each player’s individual movements are to Sarri’s tactical system.
Mário Rui and Christian Maggio have both tried their best to compensate for the loss, but neither of them are anywhere near the level of the former Saint-Étienne man.
The bottom line is that, despite their barren spell in front of goal, Napoli are just one point behind leaders Inter and still have a great chance of clinching their first Scudetto since 1990. That is why they must wake up from their slumber before it is too late.
All is not yet lost – far from it – but Sarri must quickly find a way to rejuvenate his players and reinforce the sense of belief that will be so crucial to writing a marvelous new chapter of footballing history in Naples.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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