Napoli ran away 2-0 victors in this slightly cagey yet brilliant match at the Stadio San Paolo.
The match started with Napoli feeling Genoa out a bit, yet Genoa held their own and shut down Napoli’s attack efficiently. The, after the halftime break, Napoli kicked it up a few notches and it was just too much for Genoa to handle. Here is how we rated each Napoli player’s performance from the match:
Pepe Reina (7): Reina was not tested much at all today, but what stood out was his precision on a few of his punts that led to real opportunities for Napoli on the counter attack. Reina’s kicking ability continues to pay dividends for Sarri’s Napoli.
Christian Maggio (6): On the eve of his birthday, the Napoli veteran put in a solid shift filling in for suspended Napoli stalwart, Elseid Hysaj. The Italian attacked efficiently and defended soundly for pretty much the entirety of the match. Bravo Christian!
Raul Albiol (7): It’s clear that although he is getting up there in age, Albiol is an undeniably important piece to this Napoli. His passing out of the back is near perfection and his positioning is bordering world class.
Kalidou Koulibaly (6.5): On his return back to action in a Napoli jersey, Koulibaly put in a solid performance. He wasn’t his usual incredible self, but he definitely did his part and will definitely be useful for Napoli’s upcoming match vs Real Madrid.
Faouzi Ghoulam (6): It wasn’t anything special from the Algerian, but he joined the attack as he usually does and was relatively sound on defense. He did his job.
Piotr Zielinski (9 MOTM): Wow, wow wow wow. Zielinski is just something else. It is going to be hard for Sarri to ever keep his Polish midfielder out of the lineup ever again after this performance. Not even because of his world class goal, but for the entirety of the match, the Polish international was involved in everything Napoli did. He made all the right passes and covered all the right areas defensively. Hats off to you, Piotr.
Amadou Diawara (7.5): Diawara was also just great today. He held down the midfield almost to perfection and didn’t allow Genoa’s high powered midfielders to overrun him. The 19-year-old has yet again performed like a veteran.
Marek Hamsik (7.5): Not only were Zielinski and Diawara class today, but it all came together with Hamsik marshaling his troops to overpower Genoa, and that he did. The captain put in a more of behind the scenes outing together this evening, but nonetheless, it was so important in gaining the 3 points for his beloved Napoli.
Emanuele Giaccherini (6.5): After recently complaining about a lack of playing time, Giaccherini was given his chance today vs Genoa and he took it well. He worked his socks off from start to finish and relatively did the job Callejon would have done if he were playing tonight. I believe Emanuele would have earned a few more starts from now until the end of the season.
Dries Mertens (8): Dries Mertens’ impeccable run of form continued tonight with a crucial assist to finish off Genoa. The Belgian is showing the whole world he is the real deal. Now, Sarri will certainly be starting his prized possession at striker against Real Madrid.
Lorenzo Insigne (7): The little Neapolitan had a great game out wide for Napoli today. He was always dangerous and always posed a constant threat to the Rossoblù goal. It’s too bad he didn’t get a goal of his own.
Allan (6.5): Allan came on and put in a very solid performance. He did exactly what was asked of him and a bit more as he almost recorded an assist to Pavoletti.
Leonardo Pavoletti (5): The Napoli newcomer hasn’t been playing his best football as of late. It still remains to be seen whether he can genuinely be a starter on Napoli’s frontline sometime in the near future.
Marko Rog (6.5): In a rare appearance for the young Croatian, Rog put in a very decent shift out on the right wing. He has shown he is even capable of giving Callejon a rest from time to time out on the Right.