With all the excitement of Maurizio Sarri’s exit and the welcoming of Carlo Ancelotti to Napoli it is quite easy to forget that we have just finished, points wise, the best season in our history. I’ve put together a YouTube playlist of all the individual highlights of the 38 games here if you’d like to remind yourself.
Forza Napoli Sempre!
Maurizio Sarri: B+
I’ve loved watching his team and I think it is fair to say he is the greatest coach in our history. Like the rest of the team at Sempre! I’d like to say Grazie Mister and I hope his next club look after him and pay him very well – he deserves it!
This season though… We started with some incredible football but the injuries to Milik and Ghoulam clearly disrupted his plans. A lack of flexibility, squad rotation and a Plan B cost us and, after the comeback to Lazio in February, his aesthetic brand of football vanished. Should be strongly commended for the improvement defensively and at set pieces this season, too. Allowing the ‘hotel room’ melt down has significantly lowered his grade in his record breaking final season with us.
Defence: 48 Games. 29 Goals Conceded.
Pepe Reina: A-
I don’t like Pepe and the recent links to the Camorra make me like him even less but… he’s had a quietly superb season topping the clean sheet charts in Serie A with 18. His distribution has been exemplary and he didn’t make a high profile mistake. Will leave a massively big hole that needs properly filling as soon as possible.
Faouzi Ghoulam: A
For my money our best player in the 11 games he played in this season. Scored a wonderful goal against SPAL and linked up with Insigne with devasted effectiveness. Such a shame to lose him. A Napoli with him in the team all season wins the Scudetto in my humble opinion.
Mario Rui: C+
Thrown into the deep end because of Sarri’s lack of rotation but ended up playing 25 games due to Ghoulam’s injuries. He did ok – his near goal against Lazio in February capped a splendid performance but he often went missing in big games and needs to work on his composure.
Elseid Hysaj: B-
A less impressive season than last year. His personal performances tend to reflect the team’s – when we’re good he’s good, when we’re bad, he’s terrible. Needs to take games by the scruff of the neck more. His defensive nous contributed to the team’s great season at the back, though.
Kalidou Koulibaly: A
A world class season from our defensive lynch-pin. Frequently single-handedly shut down our opponents’ attacking thread and scored some vital goals. Including the glorious moment against Juve. Would have been A+ but his red card against Fiorentina was a key moment in the Scudetto loss.
Raul Albiol: A
I’ve given him the same mark as Koulibaly since I think he’s had just as great a season. Fantastic composure, distribution and, like K2 he popped up with some vital goals when the front three had run out of steam. If the CB pairing stays next year, we’re in with a shout.
Midfield. Average Possession (league): 60.3% Average Pass Completion league): 87.7%
Another very good season from our regista. He posted some insane passing stats and provided some incredible assists. Not quite as all encompassing in his influence as last season, though.
Marek Hamsik: D+
He broke the scoring record and scored a golazzo against Torino once the Scudetto race was over but, aside from that, our captain had a shocking year. Was often invisible in games and his usually reliable passing range deserted him. Needs to adapt into a new way of playing now he is entering the final chapter of his career.
The tank and heart beat of this side. There is no way we would have broken the points record without him. He rarely let weaker team performances affect his game – Roy Keane-esque in how he pushed the team forward. He’s also added some silkier skills to his game and chipped in with a few goals. My player of the season for Napoli and the whole of the league. Bravo!
Attack. 48 Games. 93 Goals.
Lorenzo Insigne: B+
A good but not great season from the local lad. Started the season well when he had Ghoulam with him on the left hand side but became rather selfish in his approach when the going got tough. Good to see him rise to the responsibility of being captain in the later stages of the season. Will be interesting to see him play with a more traditional forward like Milik in the team next season.
Dries Mertens: B
I love Dries and he’s scored some world class goals this season against Genoa, Lazio and Bologna. 18 goals and 6 assists sounds great but Sarri ran him into the ground and he wilted after February. Would love him to stay and get old with us – his intelligence on the pitch will make a difference – even if he’s not playing as a Number 9.
Jose Callejon: B-
10 goals and 10 assists is a good return from our Spanish Iron Man. Started every league game and has only missed a handful for five seasons now. Went missing (like Mertens) goal scoring wise at a crucial stage of the season but his delivery from corners was a major factor in us going deep in the Scudetto charge. Needs to be used more sparingly next season since the man deserves a bit of break!
Milik and Diawara all made vital contributions to the season and were criminally underplayed by Sarri. They both need to be regulars next season. Tonelli did well when called upon – as did Christian Maggio who should have got a proper send off from the San Paolo after his years of fantastic service.
By Frank Sidekick Follow @FrankSidekick