Last season’s Coppa Italia success and run in the Champions League, meant that their Serie A form was effected. In 2012/13, Napoli will be fully focused on the league and their tack in hand: a top 3 finish.
For the first time since the Maradona years, The Neapolitan residences have experienced success. Unlike 1990 though, Naples had three heroes rather than one; Cavani, Lavezzi and Hamsik, better known as the “Three Tenors”. Lavezzi may have left for Parisian euros, but his replacement, Insigne, has been Napoli’s star player during a wonderful pre season campaign. With a stronger squad than last year and no serious continental commitments, Napoli could have another season to remember.
Manager: Walter Mazzari
The appointment of Walter Mazzari in 2009, was a turning point for Napoli; it began their first era of success post Maradona.
Since leaving Sampdoria for Naples, Mazzari has used his famed counter-attacking style to great effect. Napoli’s pacey counter attacks are one of the Peninsula’s greatest attractions. Although it works to great effect against Italy’s seven sisters, against lesser opposition when Napoli are expected to be forever on the front foot; they fail to break down sides and normally get caught on the break themselves. Next season Mazzari will undoubtedly have to address this issue and become more tactically versatile. The Tuscan born man’s managerial virtue is his passion for the game. Throughout next season you will likely see Mazzari throw his coat to the ground, kick water bottles over, and mime the actions of his players; this love of football is what makes him a great manager. Walter Mazzari may not be the most tactically versatile manager in Italy, and is by no means the best either… but he is exactly what Napoli need to bring back the glory days.
Key Player: Edinson Cavani
If Napoli are going to do something special next season; “El Matador” will likely be the protagonist.
Hailing from Uruguay and signed from Palermo, the signing of Edinson Cavani in 2009 seemed like a shrewd bit of business at the time, but no one could have predicted the incredible impact he has had in Naples. With 66 goals in just 94 games for Napoli, the 25 year old has become a true legend at the San Paolo. In just two years in mainland Italy he has: hat tricks against Juventus, A.C Milan and Lazio, a Coppa Italia final goal and 5 goals in one Champions League campaign. A natural finisher, physically strong, big game player, and with movement unrivalled by any other striker in Europe; if you were to make a perfect prima punta, it would not be far off “El Matador”. Chelsea and Juventus are eyeing a move for the Napoli hitman but De Laurentiis knows that for his club to be successful, he needs to hold onto Cavani.
Best Signing: Alessandro Gamberini
Scoring goals has never been an issue for Mazzari’s team, but the amount of goals conceded in recent campaigns has been their downfall; step forward Alessandro Gamberini.
Plucked from Florence along with Valon Behrami for just 8.5 million, Gamberini could be one of the best signings of the mercato. He may be another central defender at the wrong side of 30, but unlike the other defensive options, he is by no means past his best. Gamberini is a no nonsense defender with a very English approach to the game as he is never afraid to hit row z with a clearance. He will likely replace Aronica in the starting eleven, a player who is no longer good enough to play for a one of Italy’s top clubs. For such a minuscule fee, there are very few other centre backs on the market with the credentials that Gamberini possesses; Napoli fans have a right to feel that next season, the sheets will be a lot cleaner.
F00tballmatters’ Season Prediction: 3rd
After last season’s incredible fight for third place, the same is exepected in 2012/13.
Napoli along with Roma and Inter Milan, all look to be worthy of a place in the Champions League, but the San Paolo faithful are the ones that I feel, will be celebrating on May 19th. Having spent well and added depth to a squad that was lacking bodies last season, Mazzari will be able to rotate his squad without losing any quality. With Insignemania running wild and Cavani ready to be the Serie A capocannoniere; Napoli look like they could have another unforgettable campaign. There is one objective: Top 3
Follow Jack Gallagher on Twitter @calciolovesjack
Interested in writing for f00tballmatters? Then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org