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Manolas - Napoli

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  • #76
    Horrible run of form for Napoli right now. I also hear the energy/moral in the dressing room is not great


    • #77
      A number of players are on the way out. De Laurentiis has rubbed a lot of them the wrong way. They will probably cash in on Koulibaly in the summer. Manolas committed his future to Napoli and will likely remain.


      • #78
        All hell has broken loose in Napoli:

        Members of Qatar's royal family want to buy the club:


        • #79
          Wow re the Ultras


          • #80
            He's starting today against Liverpool at Anfield. Napoli are winning 0-1. Super finish from Mertens and smart move to beat the offside trap. It will be a real shame to see him leave Napoli.


            • #81
              Klopp can't wait to get back into the locker room. Napoli lead at the half.

              Manolas is looking strong today. I wouldn't have guessed he was coming back from injury. He's very composed. He and Koulibaly look really formidable at the back. Meret is having a great game is making a big difference for them. Between him and Mertens, it's hard to name anyone making a bigger difference today than those two, but Firmino's inventiveness could find a way yet. Liverpool are also playing a risky game out of the back, I've seen them managed to breakthrough Napoli's press, but Napoli almost capitalized and scored after Robertson gave away the ball. Napoli are proving difficult to break down. The midfield and attacking players all drop back and defend in numbers. They press really well too. For all the talk of rebellion and problems, it seems the players have really come together today to produce a result Ancelotti still has their support.


              • #82
                He performed well and looked really composed. The last time I saw him at Anfield with Roma, he looked a little overawed and Liverpool won big. He looked much more experience and more mature this time out. Ancelotti did a very good job here. Napoli played with three CBs in a back four (Maksimovic played at RB) and only Firmino's cleverness ever posed any serious problems for Napoli. Firmino was an ever present danger and he himself came close to scoring twice. Once when Meret came to collect, only to drop the ball. Both Manolas and Koulibaly covered the goal, with Koulibaly providing the saving clearance. On a later chance, Maksimovic was slow to track back and it seemed a misunderstanding resulted in Manolas coming in late to challenge Firmino, who anticipated the space between them, on a headed chance that missed the net.

                Napoli's one costly mistake was produced in defending a corner. They didn't find enough of a balance with their zonal coverage. It seems Klopp picked up on it and had Lovren practically win a free header (with only the very short Mertens to beat) right at the penalty spot. Normally, that's not an easy header to put away, and if I had to guess Ancelotti figured incorrectly in taking that risk. I think they should play two men on the posts, one of them being Mertens. I don't understand why more teams don't do use their short players to defend the posts. And with Koulibaly, Manolas, and Maksimovic on the pitch, it's hard to understand how Napoli could have been beaten in the air when all Liverpool have is Van Dijk and Lovren to pose any kind of real aerial threat. Van Dijk's presence made a difference on the goal and allowed Lovren the space. The cross was also deceptive and curved with the intention of keeping Napoli's defenders pinned back. It was a clever play.

                A win here would have ensured Napoli progress with a top place finish and it would have sent a clear message to the rest of the competition. Nevertheless, the draw shows that Napoli can go far in the UCL this season. Also Liverpool have a difficult challenge ahead. Fabinho is a massive loss and I expect that to affect their performance in the league and UCL. Also they have to get a win in Salzburg in order to finish first place. Salzburg are proving to be the surprise package this season and they themselves need a win in order to progress. There's no telling what will happen. In fact, we could see Liverpool knocked out in the group stages, but I think the odds still favor them to finish first in the group.


                • #83
                  They're playing Udinese and losing 1-0. The goal came on the transition as Napoli hurried back from a failed corner. Udinese is a very physical team taking a lot liberties in their challenges. Mertens has been dinged a few too many times by Okaka. Mertens, however, is the one on a yellow for nipping a counter in the bud. The referee has no feel for the game.

                  As for Manolas, he looks very assured of himself. He has great presence without being overly assertive. He plays really smart. He has really cleaned up his game and he looks very mature now. He was very alert to come out and block what was Udinese's first shot of the game, forcing it wide. That shot came at the 25th minute mark. It's been a very boring game.

                  Koulibaly plays fast and loose. He's the most entertaining player on the pitch, but he leaves space for opponents and on the goal Udinese took advantage of that by playing it into his pocket. He keeps having to make recovery tackles. His style would be well suited to the EPL. Koulibaly is really good, but he's like those goalkeepers who sometimes make a meal out of a save. He tends to play for the cameras.

                  In Italy, it's very tactical. It's not end-to-end like England where the game is more open. In Italy, it's really bogged down. The way Napoli are playing makes it difficult for them to win in the league. This is partly why they have been more successful in Europe, where they tend to sit deep and defend well, while hitting teams on the counter. Here in Italy, they have to take the game to the opponent and breaking down teams in Italy is very hard.

                  Okaka is deliberately taking a piece out of Mertens every chance he gets. Mertens is Napoli's biggest attacking threat and they're taking him out of the game physically. The psychology of Napoli's team is also very low. Udinese know what they're doing. The referee is playing magoo, but made no hesitation to give Mertens a yellow when he finally retaliated partly out of frustration and killed a counter ( this was soon after his team conceded, so he was alert to the danger on the transition). Ancelotti has to get his team refocused again and forget Udinese's cheap shots. They have to be careful on the transition and play their game. Napoli seem to be lacking an attacking edge. Insigne is not playing well these days. Too many distractions off the pitch and the failure to sign a top class forward over the summer is hurting the team's prospects. The need another incisive player in the final third. Mertens isn't enough.


                  • #84
                    Manolas is κύριος. He looked really good today. Nothing got past him. In the air and on the ground he was unbeatable. Udinese have some fast, big players too. Despite his club's form, he's playing his best football these days. He and Koulibaly look like the best two defenders in Italy right now. They're a pleasure to watch.

                    Napoli lack a cutting edge. For all their possession, they can't make it count. And they are vulnerable on the counter, especially after corners when the commit the CBs forward. This is a big issue for them, but that's the risk they take with their approach. The big key is they need to score more goals.

                    Zielinsky scored a good goal. He made a great run initially, Udinese won back the ball only to lose it right at the top of the box to Mertens. His run opened up space for Zielinksky to then score. Without Mertens, this Napoli team is very flat offensively.

                    Llorente should have and could have won the game for Napoli, but he didn't take his chances. Napoli need to sign someone of real attacking quality in the winter, someone who can score. I think Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be that player. Maybe they get someone else, but Di Laurentiis needs to spend in the winter. He can't afford to let Mertens go either. He needs to swallow his pride because Mertens really is a Napoli legend and for good reason. He's a quality player.

                    Then there is stupidity. Maksomivic was on the touchline warming up and for reasons I can't understand he decided to run his mouth at the linesman. He got carded with a yellow and then he did it again. The moron got himself sent off. Dumb. Ancelotti has to get his players in line. Yes, the referee and his team weren't very good today, but that's no excuse. They have to be smarter than this.


                    • #85

                      le pagelle dei quotidiani alla prestazione di Kostas Manolas.

                      Ultime Calcio Napoli - L'edizione odierna del Corriere dello Sport racconta la reazione di Lorenzo Insigne nello spogliatoio quando Carlo Ancelotti gli ha comunicato che non sarebbe più rientrato in campo per giocare il secondo tempo.

                      TUTTOSPORT - 6. Gara di grande attenzione.

                      CORRIERE DELLO SPORT - 7. I guerrieri hanno la sua faccia, la sua anima, il suo coraggio. Una lezione per chiunque.

                      GAZZETTA - 6. Riesce a mantenere la posizione senza errori di rilievo.

                      IL MATTINO - 6. Il difensore greco lotta di testa e non si lascia quasi mai superare, una prestazione di carattere con poche sbavature: regge anche nei momenti più complicati della partita e prova anche a non buttare via il pallone in fase d’impostazione. Una prova attenta,sale di livello insieme ai compagni nella ripresa.
                      Corriere Dello Sport made a point of painting Manolas as the best performer and Insigne the worst. I've complained in the past about his concentration levels, but it looks like he has finally turned a page. His positioning and awareness are at the best levels I've ever seen him. He's always anticipating where the danger is and how best to snuff it out. He can keep the ball and play it. Nothing fancy, just simple passes and maneuvers to break the press. He's very conservative with longer passes and leaves it to teammates to make the difference in attack. He was very mature. He has come of age.


                      • #86
                        They sacked Ancelotti.


                        • #87
                          Yep... could be on his way to Arsenal


                          • #88
                            Gattuso is coming in. Right off the bat, Insigne and Mertens will be dropped. Allan will play a big role, but he's among the most disgruntled players. Also the team will now play a 4-3-3 like they did under Sarri. I think this is a mistake and that Napoli will change coaches again in the summer.

                            Ancelotti may end up at Arsenal. Not many managers can get the better of Liverpool lately like he has. He can probably convince a couple of Napoli's wantaway players, like Koulibaly or Allan, to sign.


                            • #89
                              You sack Ancelotti and sign Gattuso... una fatsa una ratsa


                              • #90
                                Gattuso's hiring means their priority is on the league now.

                                It seems that Ancelotti wasn't for long at Napoli anyways. Apparently De Laurentiis wanted Gasperini in the summer, but Gasperini decided to stay at Atalanta.

                                He was in a no-win situation. The team had too many off field distractions over contract speculation, but it came down most of all to the players refusing to spend the week in retreat, when they finally dug in their heels and rebelled en masse. The fact Ancelotti didn't do more to get them in line was seen as his failing in De Laurentiis' eyes.

                                It seems wholesale changes will come in the summer. Allan and Koulibaly, probably the two most prized assets in the team, are locked into long term contracts. (Manolas was signed with the expectation that Koulibaly was bound to leave, even as early as that past summer). It's hard to say if they will be sold, but both want to leave at this point and the offers will be big enough to justify their sales. Insigne, Mertens, and Callejon are destined to leave. Insigne may be sold in January.