Last night, Napoli’s 3-0 victory over Juventus was in no way a fluke; it was a tactical battle that the Napolitans won.
Uruguayan, Edinson Cavani and his team had a perfect night and they really taught the new signings, Luca Toni and Amauri, a few things about using the brain more than legs when it comes to playing tactically.
The best thing about Napoli’s approach towards the game was that they played in a very well though formation. The front three, including Cavani, played in a compact shape together that opened up a lot of space for Christian Maggio and Andrea Dossena to run
in the flanks.
Summer signing, Milos Krasic, along with Simone Pepe, has been very influential for Juventus this season, but Milos Krasic is criticized for being unable to track back and help out his defense. On the other hand, Pepe has been great at tracking back, which
is very important when you are up against a team that plays in the formation used by Napoli.
It should be noted that in the build up to the first Napoli goal, Maggio, who was on the right flank, was almost 10 yards ahead of Pepe, who was his designated marker. Walter Gargano is a defensive midfielder for Napoli, and it was very unexpected to see
him so near Juve’s penalty area. This drew Armand Traore and Giorgio Chiellini towards the ball as Gargano gave the simplest of passes to Maggio, who was utterly ignored from the play by the Juventus defense. This ignorance on Juventus’ part gave Maggio a
lot of time to provide a well measured cross to Cavani, who turned the accurate cross into a great assist for Maggio from just six yards out.
Later on in the game, Andrea Dossena received a ball and stretched the Juventus defense from the left side and quickly changed the direction of play by a simple yet deadly cross. At this moment, Milos Krasic was merely standing and looking at the Napoli
build up rather than tracking back. This left Grygera to do a follow up job that the Serb should have done in the first place. Grygera tried hard to make up for Krasic’s mistake but in vain. An unchallenged Dossena cross was met by the in-form Cavani, who
had Marek Hamsik behind him so even if the Uruguayan had missed it, Hamsik would have converted it. But Cavani easily put the ball in the net. The best thing about the goal was that Hamsik and Cavani both went towards the back post that gave Dossena a great
chance to whip an accurate cross.
The third goal came across due to a striking partnership of Napoli’s tactful attack and Juventus’ defensive lapse. Ezequiel Lavezzi initiated a great run and when Grygera and Bonucci drew in to stop Lavezzi, they forgot all about the looming presence of
Uruguay international, Edinson Cavani who never needs a 2nd chance to score. Cavani simply had to divert the ball in the goal, which he did easily to complete his hat-trick. Juventus was simply outsmarted by Napoli.
Controversially, in the 20th minute, Luca Toni had a goal disallowed when the referee thought that he had handled Morgan De Sanctis before jumping higher than the Napoli keeper and heading the ball in the net. Since his arrival, many have been
critical about Toni’s signing but he was more of a threat to Napoli than Pepe and Krasic, and the number 20 did well to become a nuisance for the Napoli defense.
The absence of Felipe Melo was felt in the Juventus team as they were overwhelmed in the midfield. This made the Napoli front three play easily on their terms and made full use of the presence of Cavani in the front.
It is true that the current Juventus side is far from a complete team and it will take some time for Juventus to become a true authoritarian when it comes to playing against the big teams. Juventus need to learn and adapt according to games if they are to
become serious title contenders.
To sum it all up, two teams played and one of those teams played a game that complemented their strengths. Both teams proclaim themselves as serious Scudetto candidates but one team showed that it still has the potential to push forward in the quest.