Napoli are one of the surprises this season in European elite football, as the management from sports director Cristiano Giuntolli has been a success. After the exit of important players such as Insigne, Mertens or Koulibaly, the new signings Kvicha Kvaratskhelia yand Kim Min-Jae have responded the best way, as they have reached a point where not winning the Serie A title seems impossible.
The success from this team can’t be explained without their coach Luciano Spalletti, who has changed the playing style of the team, a squad that, apart from having very high ball possession rates is also vertical and has the ability to create a lot of scoring chances. Stats prove that, as Napoli are the 4th team within the top five European leagues with the most ball possession per game with a 61%. In addition, they are also the 3rd squad in the European elite that shoot the most on target per game with 16,6 attempts, only below Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
If we talk about the stars at Napoli, we all think about Kvicha Kvaratskhelia, one of the main characters from European football this season only at the age of 21. He is a player that might be less fast than others such as Dembélé or Vinicius, but more stylish and skilled when driving the ball, as well as he counts on an incredible capacity for creating chances.
Kvicha has scored 11 goals so far in the Serie A and two in the Champions League, but he is also great at assisting, as he has given nine in the Italian league and four in the European one. These are great stats for someone who plays with his shocks by his ankle nd wears number 77, which makes up for his nickname ‘Kvaradona’.
Victor Osimhen is another player to point out. This is his third season in the club and is proving that he is worth the 75 million that Napoli paid for his signing. The man of the mask is the top scorer in the Italian league with 19 goals. Furthermore, he has scored four goals in the five games that he has played in the Champions League. No doubt that these are stats that belong to a world class player.
Osimhen is a very strong striker physically, very powerful at heading and specially when making runs. He breaks with ‘the big striker stereotype’ that wins ir balls and plays well facing back the net. These qualities have allowed him to be followed by clubs such as Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
However, strikers are not the only ones to stand out at this team, as we are also talking about the 2nd team that have conceded the less goals in the top five leagues. And this is mostly thanks to Kim Min-Jae. The Korean central defender has perfectly replaced the exit of Kalidou Koulibaly and has become the leader in defense in less than a season. His 1,90 meters height allow him to be tough in air balls. Furthermore, he also stands out for his ability to play the ball from backwards, as he is the player that he completes the most passes per game in the Serie A.
The Korean is also great at recovering the ball, as he holds the percentile of 96 stolen passes per game, according to the stats from FBREF. That is to say that, taking into account that he is constantly compared to the rest of the central defenders from the top five European leagues, he is among the best 4% stealers, an outstanding fact.
Already mentioned the three most outstanding pieces, we must also point out other key players for Spalletti. One of them is Stanislav Lobotka, ex-player for RC Celta, who is one of the most accurate passers in Europe with a 95% of accuracy per game. At the same time, he is one of the engines of the team along with Piotr Zielinski and Zambo Anguissa.
The Cameroonian and the Polish top off perfectly the midfield from Napoli, as the shooting and game vision from Zielinski along with the work and capacity to break lines from Anguissa allow them to link up with the strikers easily.
Napoli are on verge of the Serie A title and have qualified for the Champions League quarter finals for the first time in their history. They are a team formed by unknown but great players. Will this be enough to beat the European giants?
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.
Main image: @sscnapoliES.