Napoli 1 – 2 Atalanta: Player Ratings

Sepe: Enjoyed a quiet first half other than tipping an effort over the bar with minutes of the first half remaining. Was left woefully exposed at both goals and stood little chance with either. (5)

Hysaj: Not a great night for our first choice right back, struggled to impose himself going forward and both goals in the second half came down his side as he was posted missing for both. For both goals Chiriches had to come out to meet the threat of Gomez, and failed. A night to forget for Elseid. (4)

Chiriches: Brought in for Albiol who was rested and done what was required in terms of playing out from the back, however Gomez done him for both Atalanta goals as the Croatian tried to make up for Hysaj’s lack of positional sense on the evening. Backed off and allowed Gomez far too much room and was easily beaten. (4)

Koulibaly: Typical K2 performance, dominated the back line but when you’re the only one in a back four defending properly, something has to give. Let down by his three defensive team mates, but still won every tackle and covered ground to latch onto through balls he had no right to win. To quote Frank Crivello of Serie A Sitdown, it was “Koulibaly and three little boys” at the back. (6)

Rui: Our back up left back had a torrid evening, slipping at the vital moment as Cornelius took control of the ball in front of Sepe, only to then have the ball cannoned off him into the path of Castagne who rifled high into the net past Sepe. (4)

Rog: Tried his best to physically influence the game and was booked for an rash challenge. Faded in and out of the game and showed some bright flashes in the first half before disappearing second half. (5)

Diawara: Started bright and always looked to retain possession and keep the ball moving but always found himself with two or three men on him as Atalanta targeted him and refused to let him settle on the ball. The best of our midfield three on the night, even allowing for possibly the most ridiculous attempt at a pass back I’ve seen, but his efforts still weren’t enough.. (6)

Hamsik: After the highs of the last 3 weeks, Marek struggled in a makeshift midfield around him. There was no fluidity, no poise, and no direction to Marek’s play as loose ball after loose ball pinged around the middle of the field. Hamsik suffered as a result of what we’ve spoken about on here; the lack of action given to the fringe players makes them strangers when they do get the chance to play. Subbed for Lorenzo Insigne on 56 minutes as Sarri shuffled his pack. (5)

Callejon: Our best starting forward on the night, had a great chance to open the scoring and forced a smart save from Berisha as the keeper tipped it round the post as Callejon fired across him. Always a willing runner down that right hand side, the lack of service coming from a disjointed midfield seen fade in the second half as he made way for Mertens on 56 minutes.(5)

Ounas: I feel sorry for Ounas, he rarely gets a chance to start. We know Sarri thinks he can transform Ounas into another Mertens, and indeed he has utilised Adam in the number nine position in training matches but in competitive matches he’s struggled out wide.  You can see his effort, his willingness, but the end product isn’t there and to get the best from Ounas we need to see him more. He ran out of gas after about 35 me minutes, and made way for Allan on 72 minutes. (4)

Zielinski: Yet again deployed in the front three in a repeat of the formation against Feyenoord but there was no goal to be had this time. Much like Ounas and Callejon he seemed to struggle with the unfamiliarity of those around him and the system being asked of them. Mostly ineffective until ne was moved back into midfield during the reshuffle which seen Hamsik go off. (4)

Subs:

Mertens: Scored what turned out to be our consolation goal but always looked busy when he came on and showed a real fire to get stuck in and try and change the game. He was my man of the match which is damning when he only played 34 minutes of the match. (6)

Insigne: Part of the double switch as Sarri resorted to his tried and trusted front 3, albeit only for 16 minutes before Callejon was replaced. Nothing seemed to come off for Lorenzo as numerous shots and crosses went high and wide of target; one attempt on goal as he cut in from the left hand side went out for a throw in on the far right hand side it was so wild. We can’t keep expecting miracles from Lorenzo; he rescued us in the last round against Udinese but there would be no repeat tonight. (4)

Allan: The Brazilian came on and did what he does best; hassle and harass but like Dries it was too little too late. Allan added the kind of direct physicality that Rog tried to give us in the first half, but in the end it wasn’t enough and we crashed out the Coppa Italia leaving just Serie A and the Europa League to focus on this season. (4)

Manager:

Maurizio Sarri: We asked for rotation, we got rotation and my concern is that this lacklustre display by the fringe players will only further cement that lack of trust shown in them and solidify that belief that the classic XI is the best way forward on every occasion. Too many players suffered tonight due to unfamiliar roles and playing alongside players who they’re not accustomed to playing alongside in competitive action.


By James McGhie 

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