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S.S.C Napoli’s Road to Glory

S.S.C Napoli’s road to glory in what has been one of the best seasons since the Diego Maradona days for Napoli fans. The Gli Azzurri’s were crowned Serie A Champions after drawing against Udinese last Thursday. They’re 17-points in front of second-place Juventus, which makes them champions with five matches left to be played. It was their first title since the 1989-90 season, a 33-year drought.  

But how did S.S.C Napoli pull off one of their best seasons in three decades? 


The Lucian Spalleti Effect 

Luciano Spalletti took over the club after the termination of Gennaro Gattuso’s contract in May of 2021. Napoli have always been a consistent top five team in Italy, except in 2019-20 where the finished 7th. Since 2012, they have won three Coppa Italia and one Supercoppa Italiana. Spalleti led Napoli to a third-place finish and a Champions League spot for the first time since the 2019

Spalleti made a risky move during the 2022 summer transfer window, letting go of its several veteran players like Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, Fabian Ruiz and Lorenzo Insigne. However, this move ended up being worth it after he brought on Giacomo Raspadori, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Giovanni Simeone, and Kim Min-jae. With the addition of a young squad, Spalletti’s coached the team into an aggressive counterattacking club that managed to score 69 goals while allowing just 23, which led the league.  

Their high-press defensing also led them to a league-leading 19 clean sheets, ultimately dominating every opponent faced in Serie A.  The speed of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen has been crucial, making it hard for opposing defenders to catch up. Spalletti’s also introduced a new vision of set pieces, having scored 12 goals on 196 corners this season. 


Victor Osimhen’s Year  

The season that Osimhen had will do down as one of the best in recent Serie A seasons, leading the team to its first title in three decades. The forward joined the team in 2020 from Lille. He scored 13 goals and four assists with them at 21, drawing the interest of the Italian side. When he first joined Serie A, he struggled to find goals, scoring 10 in 24 appearances.  

What took Osimehen hard to adjust to the league was the high pressure defending. The following season, he scored 14 goals, four more than his previous year with four goals during the Europa League. From there, Osimhen broke out and had a record-breaking season. His 22 goals thus far lead the league, including the goal that helped give S.S.C Napoli their title.  

He also almost averaged a goal a match while recording about 3.4 shots per game, with 1.5 being on target. Overall, Osimhen has a total of 116 shots in Serie A, which is just four off from the league lead. All his success follows missing nine games this season with injury. With four assists as well, he contributed 37 of all Napoli’s league goals, with the team winning 94 of all leagues matches that Osimhen had scored in.  


Outplaying Their Rivals 

After being in the shadows of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan for several years, Napoli found a way to level up to its competitors to capture glory. From 2012-2020, Serie A was ruled by Juventus. With players like Ronaldo, Di Maria, Giorgio Chiellini, Gigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Paulo Dybala and Andrea Pirlo, the club was nearly unstoppable. With their nine titles in a row, they extend their league titles to 36, the most in Serie A.  

Prior to that, Inter Milan was running the league, capturing four titles in a row from 2006-2010. There was also AC Milan who were also dominate during those years, especially with Brazilian sensation Kaka. Despite having prime Gonzalo Higuain from 2013-2016, Napoli just could not reach the level of its competitors. Since Ronaldo’s departure from Juventus in 2020, the Juventus reign of domination came to an end.  

They snapped their Serie A title streak to Inter Milan in 2020-21 after finishing in fourth, their lowest finish since 2011. S.S.C Napoli were just behind in fifth place that season, finishing a point behind. They then leap frogged Juventus last season, finishing third with Juventus finishing fourth. This gave all the momentum Napoli needed to figure out how to achieve success in the league. With five matches left, Napoli will need to win just three to reach a 92-point season, which will be the most every in her club history.  

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