Gazzetta dello Sport analyzed the performances of Dries Mertens and Duvan Zapata, two completely different types of forwards.
The article goes on to explain how Zapata’s work could be made easier by the absence of Koulibaly who would have been the ideal defender to deal with the strength of the Colombian.
Perhaps we will be proved wrong by events, but the Rrahmani-Juan Jesus duo, with all due respect, does not seem like an insurmountable obstacle for the Colombian striker. Mertens could enjoy Atalanta’s tactical choices of man-marking. Gasperini’s matches end up being determined by the level of aggression and individual duels won or lost. Without Osimhen or Anguissa, Napoli will switch to encouraging smooth possession spells with the ball on the ground, encouraging triangle passes. Mertens and Zapata are very different strikers and they offer very different attacking options.
Luciano Spalletti, despite leading the table prior to this week’s games has his work cut out for himself. The disappointing draw against Sassuolo was didn’t disappoint in terms of the style of football being played, which actually seemed close and under control, but brought about many injuries. Consequently, Napoli may struggle during highly busy month of December.
The calendar that sees them play Gasperini’s Atalanta is not going to do Napoli any favors. Atalanta is among the fittest teams in Serie A and has just come back from the easy win against Venezia, without losing any of their big names to injury.
Napoli takes on Atalanta, at home, tonight, at 20.45 local time in Round 16 of Serie A