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Serie A: SSC Neapel gegen Inter weiter auf Titelkurs?

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Status: 01/03/2023 10:07 p.m

SSC Napoli is clearly leading Serie A before the restart after the World Cup. After more than 30 years without “Scudetto” it could be that time again in 2023.

AC Milan, Juventus Turin, Inter Milan – three of the four closest pursuers of SSC Napoli had released players at the World Cup in Qatar who were used in the World Cup final. Juve have two world champions and one runner-up, AC Milan have two runners-up and Inter Milan also have a title holder in Lautaro Martinez.

But these three clubs are eight (Milan), ten (Juventus) and eleven points behind leaders Napoli in Serie A this season. He had only sent five players to the World Cup, of which Poland’s Piotr Zielinski and South Korean Min-Jae Kim reached the round of 16, but then had to go home.

Better recovered than opponents Inter Milan?

Whatever that says about the individual quality of each team’s squad, the undefeated Neapolitans certainly haven’t suffered a disadvantage as they recover and prepare for the remaining 24 Serie A games. Coach Luciano Spalletti was able to prepare large parts of his squad for Wednesday evening (January 4th, 2023).

A touchstone awaits his eleven in the top game against Inter Milan. The motivation should be great: Spalletti was the coach of the “Nerazzurri” until 2019, but was fired there and could now bury his former club’s title dreams prematurely with his new employer.

16th matchday Pfeil rechts No more “Scudetto” after Maradona

Although Napoli won 13 of 15 games this season and drew twice, they have become wary of big title dreams in the light of the recent past. In the past ten seasons they have finished second four times and, like last year, third twice. In 2015/16 and 2017/18 the club led the table at the end of the first half of the season and was intercepted by Juventus Turin at the end. What does “Vizekusen” actually mean in Italian? In any case, such scenarios remain in the minds and hearts of the fans.

Of course, there is one name that will always be there: Diego Armando Maradona. As a player, in 1987 and 1990, the Argentinian won the only two championships so far in the city on Vesuvius, where he has been an honorary citizen since 2017 and whose football stadium was also named after him shortly after his death in 2020.

Kvaratskhelia and Co. make people forget about departures

Even if no player in the current squad embodies the great individual splendor that the exceptional footballer Maradona once did: The offensive is the best in the league and features Nigerian Victor Osimhen (nine goals, three assists) and his Georgian strike partner Khvicha Kvaratskhelia (six goals , six assists) also the two top scorers. Like Min-Jae Kim and Frank Anguissa, Kvaratskhelia is a newcomer who made an immediate impact.

All of this is particularly noteworthy given the massive drain on personnel in the summer: Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Kalidou Koulibaly, Fabian Ruiz, first-choice goalkeeper David Ospina and Arkadiusz Milik left the club and had to be replaced. So far this has been successful.

Cheers from the players of SSC Napoli

Important games in front of the chest

The fact that Spalletti’s team could come out of the World Cup break a little better prepared than their direct competition is also of great importance because, in addition to the duel with Inter Milan, this month there is also that with Juventus Turin (13.01.2022).

If Napoli remain unbeaten in the remaining four games in the first half of the season in January and start the second half of the season with a similarly clear lead as they are now, the dream of the “Scudetto” for the Spalletti team and the fans who have suffered so much in this regard is more realistic than it has been for a long time more.

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