• Analysis

Napoli’s Champions League ambitions on the line

Napoli Carlo Ancelotti Blues
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After a turbulent season in Serie A, continuation in the elite European competition is their last ditch attempt to salvage the 2019/20 season.

Carlo Ancelotti is running out of ideas at the San Paolo. Napoli are on a nine match winless run and out of top-four slots. After finishing second four times in last five years, the team’s Serie A performances have out question marks on their abilities.

Napoli dont lose but they also dont win. They have drawn seven of their last 9 competitive outings, losing the other two. It is negotiating results in their favor that is a problem for them, especially in Serie A.

The only positives in the Partenopei’s season have been their outings in UEFA Champions League. Napoli secured an important 2-3 away win against Red Bull Salzburg. But it was their 2-0 win over reigning European champions that showed their pedigree as a top team on the continent.

However, their impressive wins have mixed up with their inability to get over the line. The southern Italian’s impotency in front of goal resulted in them accruing three draws, fixtures they should have negotiated in their favor.

And against Genk they are facing one of the worst sides in Champions League. They have a negative 11 goal difference and have conceded 16 goals. Their 0-0 home draw against Napoli being their saving grace, for their only points in Europe.

Easy but difficult task

The fixture is easy on paper but nothing has been easy for the Neapolitans. They have been creating chances but without a ticking forward line, have made a mess of their fixtures.

Genk know they are the underdogs but will not give up without a fight. Hannes Wolf will send out his players to attack and take on the Partenopei at home turf.

“We have to have fun, we will play in an attacking way, with courage,” Wolf said. “We will have to be good in both halves of the field and we will try to win.”

“Napoli are a team with great quality, they are strong in every area of the pitch, but this is the Champions League and we have to play the game of our lives.”

Opposition’s words rarely impact players before important games, but nothing seems to be having an impact on the Blues. Carlo Ancelotti has failed spectacularly in reinvigorating their season, with the Champions League being the final stage where they can salvage their season.

A Salzburg home win against Liverpool will complicate qualification for them. Only a win ensures Napoli’s adventures in Europe continue. Only a win saves their season.

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