Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Kirsten Schlewitz On October - 28 - 2011

Italian Serie A Week 9 Preview: Catania vs Napoli

Napoli supporters – and in case you haven’t figured it out, I am certainly one of those – have reason to be thrilled after Wednesday’s performance against Udinese. The zebrette had been undefeated through their first seven matches, with Samir Handanovic not having conceded in over a month, when he allowed Stephan El Shaarawy’s equalizer for Milan. But then Udinese had to play at the San Paolo – not the fortress it may have been last season, but the Partenopei sure made it intimidating. It seemed every time I glanced at my stream (law school required I couldn’t give it my full devotion) the home side had the ball, with Ezequiel Lavezzi wreaking most of the havoc. Well, that was the case in the first half, at least. After both Lavezzi and Christian Maggio had scored before halftime, Napoli seemed more content to simply sit back and toy with the visiting team. But it wasn’t so much the scoreline that thrilled, although it was nice to get back to winning ways at the SP. No, what made this match so enticing – aside from Pocho taking off his shirt after the final whistle, of course – was that Napoli appear to be back to their exciting ways. Against Parma, they looked tired; against Cagliari, a bit clueless. But against Udinese, the team were set to score as soon as they set foot on the pitch.

Marek Hamsik put in a header before twenty minutes were up, but it was called out for offside. Fortunately for the Napoli faithful, they were able to celebrate again soon after, seeing Lavezzi score his first goal at home in nearly a year. And what a goal! The chip from Cavani, the strength in Lavezzi’s volley…it’s pretty much football porn.

What Catania may need to worry most about, though, may not be Lavezzi’s skill. It’s that Walter Mazzarri seems to have finally learned how to adjust his tactics – or, at least, has realized that when your team is ahead and the opposition switches to a 4-4-3, it might be a good idea to take off an attacking player and switch to a four-man backline. Eureka! Gli Elefanti aren’t doing too badly for themselves at the moment, however, beating Inter (not that that’s such a feat these days) and coming from behind to draw away at both Fiorentina and Lazio. Despite Lazio’s recent run of good form, Gonzalo Bergessio found a close-range equalizer to level things midweek, likely leaving Vincenzo Montella quite ecstatic indeed. The former Roma man continues push his teams toward attacking football, although he’s loving switching things up, seeming to field a different starting lineup each week.

Probable Starting XI
Catania (5-3-2): Andjuar; Izco, Belluschi, Spolli, Legrottaglie, Marchese; Almiron, Lodi, Delvecchio, Maxi Lopez, Bergessio (ok, this is just a shot in the dark –throw up the cards and see them fall as they may)
Napoli (3-4-2-1): De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Aronica; Maggio, Dzemaili, Inler, Dossena; Hamsik, Lavezzi; Cavani

Napoli will be flying high after their midweek win, and eager to carry that momentum beyond the game at Catania on to the Allianz Arena next week. Provided Mazzarri doesn’t put all his eggs in his Champions League basket and starts his typical starting XI, we should see a partenopei win.

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