The midfield for Napoli, like a lot of clubs around the world, is the straw that stirs the drink for the rest of the tactical setup. Three men with very distinct roles, that when all is clicking, provide the pressing, the passing, and the drive forward for Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Halfway through this season now, it’s time to take a look at how these players have performed thus far this season:
Allan has been absolutely integral so far this season. His tenacity has always been appreciated, but this season, things just seem different from the Brazilian. He harries, pressures, and makes opposing players uncomfortable. He does a lot of the intangible things that don’t show up in the scoresheet or on the stat column. A fun bit of information about Allan, although he is our “bulldog” in the midfield, he has only accrued one(1) yellow card in over 1300 minutes in Serie A this season.
But where Allan has really stepped up this season is going forward. He has made the lung busting runs, helping link defense and attack. The Brazilian has also made some amazing skill moves in attack, one resulting in Marek Hamsik setting the all-time Napoli goal record.
Jorginho, oh, Jorginho. Everyone knows he is personally one of my favorite players on the squad. He is our metronome. He makes a lot of the amazing play we are known for happy. He is truly the director, the Regista of Sarrismo.
This season, Jorginho picks up right where he left off last season. Let’s take a look at some #NapoliStats:
Jorginho currently sits 1st in Serie A in passes attempted and completed(1444/1612), and sits 2nd in all of Europe for average passes per game(96.4), sitting only behind PSG’s Marco Verratti.
One thing I have also noticed is that Jorginho has limited his defensive errors a lot. Last year some horrible passes cost us goals(think Benfica), and this season he really has done a wonderful job in that regard.
Let’s be honest. The first 3 months were not exactly the best from Marek Hamsik. Fatigued, nursing a knock, confidence lull? Those were all questions people were asking. He didn’t look the same player. Not making those trailing runs, slack passing, and general poor play were all attributes to the dip in our captains form. But….
Il Capitano has really turned it up recently. A lot. His last month has been so special. As a Napoli fan it’s been awesome to see a true Bandiera achieve something special. Hamsik’s record tying goal against Torino was a quintessential Marek Hamsik goal, and the one to break the record was just an amazing moment at the Stadio San Paolo, in an absolutely incredible match against Sampdoria.
Let’s hope Marekario can continue this play into the second half of the season.
Piotr Zielinski has been asked to do a lot this season. He has played two different midfield positions, and also was our LW for a few weeks while Lorenzo Insigne was nursing an injury. He has managed 4 goals in less than 800 minutes this season(mostly coming off the bench).
He is probably our most impactful player coming off the bench, and has also managed around 88% pass completion in his 18 appearances. The young Pol offers us some offensive flair, and really makes a lot of difficult moves and passes very easy. He is the logical heir to Marek Hamsik, and has done nothing to deter us from that notion thus far this season.
This was not an easy one to write, but it’s hard to give the young Guinean a higher grade than this. When given the opportunity this year he has been OK, but his chances to shine have gone down a bit this season.
Part of this has to do with Jorginho, and part of this has to do with Sarri’s rotation policy. He hasn’t started a Serie A match since October, and only started 7 games total in all competitions.
He also hasn’t been AS impressive in the matches he has started. He hasn’t had one of those breakout matches like he did last season against Juventus or Real Madrid. Maybe that isn’t fair, but it’s safe to say Amadou will get his chances in the future.
Marko has sadly only played 169 minutes in Serie A. He has had 18 sub appearances, and notched a goal, but a lot of his appearances have been in a mop-up role. That being said, the young Croatian has become a cult-like figure for Napoli supporters.
I personally think he is the tenacious underling of Allan, but I do wonder if a loan spell wouldn’t help get him to the next level.
Midfield combined #NapoliStats:
Combined pass completion percentage: 89.5%
By Ken Cioffredi Follow @NapoliStats