There had been plenty of anti-Sarri noise surrounding that ‘downturn’ in results which still saw SSC Napoli lie at the top of the table; predictable, inflexible, etc.
Also our capitano was having his worst season in a Napoli shirt but thankfully, gli azzurri’s form would turn, and after 4 consecutive wins, Marek Hamsik is seemingly back in town – now owner of the throne that was formerly Diego Maradona’s as our leading goal scorer.
The future is looking bright with several players not too far away from coming back from injury and I’ve had some thoughts as to how these returning soldiers leave more options than meets the eye from a tactical perspective and, moreover, how a tactical tweak can bring even more out of the resurgent Marek Hamsik.
The Return of Milik
Pre-season, it seemed like Sarri was playing around with a 4-2-3-1 which left Mertens and Milik free to swap between attacking midfield and striker roles.
It makes a lot of sense and I really hope this is something we see in the second half of the season. Against Spal, Sarri gave this a go, but alas this was the match in which Milik was injured once more.
Milik is more of a complete forward – intelligent in his movement but his physical presence could also bring a vital missing component in the hunt for our third Scudetto.
Also with Roberto Inglese’s imminent arrival, it would be good to have a formation which can bring the most out of a more traditional centre forward and take some of the pressure off of Dries Mertens.
One could argue that Sarri’s dependence on his 4-3-3 and ‘classic XI’ is that each of the ‘classic XI’ have very specific roles in this system – especially Mertens.
This 4-2-3-1 could enable a greater shuffling of the pack and Zielinski and Rog could operate in any of the three attacking midfield roles – it also means that Callejón, Mertens and Insigne don’t need to be starting every single game.
Making the most of Hamsik
Host of Sempre! podcast James McGhie had been calling for Hamsik to get into the box more often for several months now and it seems like this essential part of his game had been missing.
At Torino, and in the following two league matches, our captain has refound his form, as Ken pointed out after his goal against Torino.
— Ken Cioffredi (@NapoliStats) December 16, 2017
My thoughts on Hamsik are that he needs to be played higher up the pitch. He’s 30 which isn’t geriatric in footballing terms, but at times, especially early this season, it looked harder for him to make those lung bursting runs.
I think there’s a version of Sarri’s traditional 4-3-3 which can be tweaked to move him further up the pitch while Allan’s work rate and engine should be enough to not leave a hole in the middle of the park. A 4-2-1-3 of sorts…
As many intellectuals and philosophers have pointed out over the years: haters are gonna hate but I’m confident that Mister Sarri has enough cards up his sleeve to see us through to glory.
By Frank Sidekick Follow @franksidekick