Title-chasing Napoli show no signs of being stopped

Date: 18th October 2021 at 12:31pm
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Napoli extended their winning start to the season to eight matches with a 1-0 victory over Torino in Serie A on Sunday, as the Partenopei further proved their Scudetto credentials.

A hard-fought match was settled by a Victor Osimhen header late on to move them onto 24 points and clear at the top of the table. Wearing their special Halloween-themed kit, it had earlier felt more like trick than treat for Napoli, as Lorenzo Insigne missed a penalty, Giovanni Di Lorenzo saw a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, and Hirving Lozano hit the post.

Yet with their winning streak in danger of coming to an end at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Osimhen stepped up to secure his eighth goal of the season and send out a warning to their title rivals.

After a promising debut season last term, Osimhen has been on fire this year and is as reliable as any striker in Serie A, whilst proving himself an early bet for the Capocannoniere. Whilst the rest of the team lacked their usual spark at times, the Nigeria international was a handful throughout and took his goal with an expertly guided header after seemingly hanging in the air for an age.

Napoli have caught the eye with some positive and well-constructed football since Luciano Spalletti took the helm in the summer, culminating in them being Serie A’s second highest goalscorers with 19, trailing only Inter.

Just as pleasing to Spalletti will be the Azzurri’s renewed defensive solidity though, with Torino limited to just a couple of Josip Brekalo chances and rarely troubling goalkeeper David Ospina throughout.

Indeed, Napoli have only conceded three league goals so far this campaign and have struck the perfect balance between centre-backs Kalidou Koulibaly and Amir Rrahmani, alongside attacking full-backs Mario Rui and the dangerous Di Lorenzo.

Torino are certainly no pushovers, despite their standing in the table, with their only defeats coming against Atalanta, Juventus, and high-flying Fiorentina, but Napoli were always in command, despite everything seemingly conspiring against them earlier in the game.

Spalletti is no stranger to these lengthy runs, after transforming Roma with a then league record 11-match winning streak in 2006, before going unbeaten in his final 17 matches of the 2015-16 season upon his return to the capital to clinch Champions League qualification.

Whether Napoli can maintain this incredible start remains to be seen and they will face a stern test against Roma next week, but this feels like a return to the title-challenging Partenopei of Maurizio Sarri. With only AC Milan in touching distance of them at this admittedly early stage, Spalletti may yet have them even better equipped to go one better and win a first Scudetto since 1990.


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