Can Napoli reignite Serie A title fight?

    10 Jan 2022 | Serie A | Opinion
    Can Napoli reignite Serie A title fight?
    Ettore Griffoni /

    Napoli suffered the terrible news that captain Lorenzo Insigne had agreed to a $13 million a season contract with Canada’s Toronto FC last week. The news comes on the heels of Napoli’s fight to reignite their Serie A title hopes for the second half of the campaign.

    While Insigne won’t join Toronto FC until July, enabling him to finish out the current campaign with Napoli, it was a massive hit to Luciano Spalletti’s bid to bring the Scudetto to Naples. More than anything, Insigne’s decision to leave the club has created an unwanted distraction.

    News off the pitch wasn’t great, but at least the team’s play on the pitch was good over the weekend. The Partenopei kept a gap of six points between themselves and first-place Inter Milan thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over Sampdoria.

    Striker Andrea Petangna’s goal in the 43rd minute was enough to give Napoli the win. Napoli should have won by more than just a goal to nil, however. They dominated the fixture with 22 shots to Sampdoria’s 11.

    The frustrating thing for Spalletti on Monday morning is the six-point gap between Napoli and Inter. The Nerazzurri were able to get a second half goal on Sunday night to defeat Lazio 2-1 in a very close game.

    Napoli need help from the other teams in Serie A to take points off of Inter. At the same time, Napoli cannot afford to drop points.

    The Partenopei set the pace in the first third of the season. However, since November 7, just three of Napoli’s 10 Serie A matches have ended in victory.

    Spalletti’s team has three very winnable games upcoming versus Bologna, Salernitana, and Venezia before playing Inter Milan at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

    If Napoli can win all four games, they could be just three points back of Inter Milan, assuming the Nerazzurri go unbeaten in the buildup to the fixture. The Serie A title race is a four-horse race at the moment.

    Just eight points separate first-place Inter Milan and fourth-place Atalanta. The problem for AC Milan, Napoli, and Atalanta is that Inter Milan do not look very likely of dropping points.

    Just once this season has Inter Milan lost in Serie A. Lazio claimed a 3-1 win at home versus Inter. Napoli must win at home on February 13 to improve their chances of winning the title. They also need AC Milan, Atalanta, and Juventus to take points off the Nerazzurri.

    Napoli still have a shot at winning the Scudetto. They must rekindle the form that was displayed from August to November when Napoli took 32 points from their opening 36 available in Serie A. Can it happen? Yes, but someone has to slow down Inter Milan.