How Napoli produced their best team performance this season against Juventus

We’re less than halfway through the 2022-23 Europa League season – thanks to the unusual timing of the 2022 World Cup – but it looks like we’ve seen the team’s best performance of the season.

on friday night, At the head of the table is Napoli Juventus hosted. Max Allegri’s side was sitting eighth in mid-October, however, Allegri’s decision to switch to 3-5-2 led to a remarkable comeback, with eight wins and eight clean sheets in a row. They were only seven points behind Napoli, and a victory would have knocked that advantage down to four points.

But after Napoli’s astonishingly dominant performance, it seems almost out of the question that we even considered it Juventus Part of the all-time title race. They were completely outplayed in every department, as Napoli ran out 5-1. The 3-5-2 formation, an obvious reason for Juventus’ good run, suddenly became a serious weakness as Napoli managed to find space all over the pitch.

There were three main themes in this match. Firstly, Luciano Spalletti’s team effectively changed the game, taking advantage of Juve’s narrow form. Secondly, they quickly played balls into the channels for Victor Osimhen to chase, and Juventus couldn’t handle his passes – partly, perhaps, as a wide centre-back. Danilo And Alex Sandro They were diverted to attack the defenders. Thirdly, Juventus’ complete lack of compactness allowed Napoli time in midfield.

Here’s an early example of this first topic. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia receives the ball wide on the left, Federico Chiesa closes it and Weston McKinneyand instead of trying to dribble into goal, he turns the play to the far side, where Giovanni Di Lorenzo is completely open, about to go forward towards his team-mate Matteo Politano.

Already, in the early stages, Juventus’ lack of compactness became apparent. Angel DiMaria And Arcadius Melek They played as one up front, pressing half, but regularly breaking away from midfield. Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka would often drop in defense to allow them to play forward more easily, then press back to find himself in the space between Juventus’ lines.

Here’s another example of Napoli switching the game around the tight block for Juventus, coming out to an unmarked striker. Mario Rui volleyed the ball into the canal for Osimhen and while that didn’t work, he showed Napoli’s intent.

Five minutes later, a similar incident occurred. This time it’s center back Kim Min-jae on the ball, and his pass floating over the top of the Juventus defense almost falls to Osimhen, but the rebound escapes him.

Here’s another example – Roy is on the ball, he launches it into the canal, and the handiest of them always gets there first.

Then the first goal came after 14 minutes. This starting position is interesting because it illustrates the problems with Juventus’ form. Not only are their attackers nowhere to be seen, Napoli have plenty of time to drive the ball through their midsection under little pressure, their midfield is alarmingly narrow, occupying about five yards wide. Kvaratskhelia drifts in and Napoli prepares to volley the ball to Di Lorenzo…

But, where they pass the ball through the midfielder Peter ZelenskyJuventus midfield is very disorganized, it seems Adrian RabiotEncouragingly, it was left-back Sandro who pushed out to seal Zielinski up. Right winger Politano takes this as a signal to rush inside into the space vacated by Sandro, then receives a forward pass from Di Lorenzo.

Then Politano crosses the first time to kick Kvaratskhelia over the head level, which Wojciech Szysny Saves, but Osimhen is free to nod the rebound.

This was more or less typical of the Neapolitan approach. This is a similar movement on the other side. As Lobokota moves to Kvaratskhelia, he notices that Chiesa realizes he needs to run towards the wing…

…but it’s not really enough, as Roy pushes forward on the overlap to create an overload. Right side defender Danilo holds his position, calling McKennie to press and lock. He won’t get there in time…

…and Roy was free to cross to the far post over Cape Politano. In fairness, Juventus’ complete inability to deliver numbers to the near side at least meant they were well equipped in the far centre.

Juventus, trailing 1-0, tried to press more – but this was disjointed and Napoli played through them. Here, Lobotka happily receives a pass from Kim near his own box, slips past two Juventus players, and dribbles to the halfway line.

Then came the second goal for Napoli, which seemed very easy and shows the three above-mentioned styles of the game.

Firstly, look at how disjointed Juventus are – the forwards are on the halfway line, easily passed with the ball to the full-back, no other Juventus player on the shot. As the camera pans back, Chiesa asks – presumably – why Juventus don’t support their attackers.

Secondly, Politano receives a forward pass from Di Lorenzo and simply shoots the ball into the channel, confident that Osimhen will win it. Against three Juventus defenders, he does. And then, look at the space outside the Juventus defense for Kvaratskhelia, who kicks the ball with confidence.

The replay angle shows the sheer insanity of Juventus’ defensive form, with Kvaratskhelia – the menace man – in the oceans of space outside Sandro. Chiesa, who is concerned about the lack of pressure from Juventus, is completely unaware of the danger behind him.

Juventus restored the lead through Di Maria shortly before the end of the first half, but the second half continued in the same vein. Here’s another simple ball in the channel for Oshimen to chase, win, shoot and earn a corner kick.

From that angle, Amir Rahmani fired a loose shot to make it 3-1.

At this point, Juventus was shocked. Napoli started winning the ball high and creating chances after being forced into turns. Here, Kvaratskhelia crosses paths with Osimhen to return to the fourth house.

He finished scoring in style typical of the Napoli approach. As Napoli turns the ball over to right-back Di Lorenzo, drifting into space, you can tell from the left-back. Philip KostekHis main concern is right-winger Elif Elmas, on the Politano website. But as DiLorenzo plays the pass, Kostick drifts toward him.

Then Kostic has to turn around and run to Elmas, and he runs so fast that he goes too far. Elmas checks on the inside and, with a deflection, makes it 5-1.

Napoli have scored famous victories over Juventus before, in seasons when they seemed to believe in winning the title. there was Edinson CavaniThe famous hat-trick against Juventus in 2011. There it was Kalidou Coulibaly2018 winner with four games remaining. Napoli have not been able to cross the line in either season.

But that was something else, and now Napoli have a 10-point lead, stopping Juventus’ momentum completely. This victory will be talked about for years if Napoli don’t win the title, and for decades if they do.

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