Home
The FI Podcast
Twitter
News
Clubs
Transfer Latest
Serie A
Stadia
Fixtures
Results
League Table
Serie B
Europe
Europa League
Champions League
Azzurri
Serie A Tickets
Bari Tickets
Bologna Tickets
Brescia Tickets
Cagliari Tickets
Catania Tickets
Cesena Tickets
Chievo Tickets
Fiorentina Tickets
Genoa Tickets
Inter Tickets
Juventus Tickets
Lazio Tickets
Lecce Tickets
Milan Tickets
Napoli Tickets
Palermo Tickets
Parma Tickets
Roma Tickets
Udinese Tickets
Free bets
About Us
Links
Work for us
 
 

Napoli's defence as crucial as attack for Walter Mazzarri


Bookmark and Share

By David Worthington

Thursday 20 October 2011

Napoli have won admirers in Italy and across the footballing world for the strength of their attacking play in recent seasons. The likes of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik have all been linked away from the club in big money moves to European giants such as Milan and Man Utd. However, after earning a solid point against Bayern at the Stadio San Paolo mid-week, the strength of Walter Mazzarri's defensive players proved that they also deserve the attention that the frontline has received.


While the 3-4-1-2 formation that Mazzarri utilises appears to put an emphasis on Napoli's attack, it is the defence that provides the solid foundation which the frontmen can build upon. The modern game has seen the rise of attacking full-backs, and Mazzarri's tactics make good use of this position. Implementing a three man defence allows wing-backs Christian Maggio and Juan Zuniga to have more freedom in attack, as well as turning the backline into a stronger five man guard when defending. Both Zuniga and Maggio had impressive performances against Bayern, the latter providing a cross that resulted in the Bavarian club's Holger Badstuber knocking it into his own goal - gaining a crucial equaliser before the end of the first-half.


Along with the use of wing-backs, the flat back three of Paolo Cannavaro, Hugo Campagnaro and Salvatore Aronica has proven to be a formidable trio for the Partenopei. Local hero Cannavaro made a crucial last-ditch tackle on Franck Ribery to prevent a late goal, and Sicilian centre-back Aronica was an irritant for the Bayern offence. While it may have been untidy defending, it was effective, as the Munich-based side could not manage to add to Toni Kroos' early goal.


Morgan De Sanctis won over critics last season with some crucial saves and the game against Bayern was no exception. The shot-stopper saved a penalty in the second half to keep the Neapolitan side in the game. A great save that kept a Jerome Boateng tap-in out of the back of the net also demonstrated that De Sanctis is just as crucial to Head Coach Mazzarri's gameplan as his attacking trio.


The stats may have revealed that Bayern were the better team on the night, dominating possession, with Napoli failing to even find a single shot on goal – but earning a point against the German side is always a commendable feat. Badstuber's own goal was also the first that the Bavarians have conceded since August in all competition.


Most coaches prefer to apply a more defensive 4-5-1 formation in European contests – smaller teams especially being afraid to take the game to their opponents. However, for Mazzarri, employing the 3-man defence in Europe (the tactic that has been so successful for the Coach in Serie A) has paid dividends. The Partenopei currently sit second in the group at the halfway stage, above free-spending Man City and Champions League regulars Villarreal – a group that many considered to be the competition's group of death. With two home games to come, Napoli are in with a strong shout of qualification, and conceding only two goals in three games tells that all of Mazzarri's men deserve accolades – not just his frontline.




Related Articles


» 

The rise of Patrick Cutrone

» 

Is Maurizio Sarri being irresponsible by not rotating his Napoli squad more effectively?

» 

How Fletcher and Taylor changed English cricket

» 

The Top 10 Juventus and Barcelona players ever

» 

Napoli prepare for season defining fixtures

» 

iPhone 4 vs iPhone 5 - Time to upgrade?

» 

Juventus take giant step towards the Champions League Final

 
 

 
  
 

 
 

Latest articles


 
 

 
  
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 
  
 

 
 
 
 

 
 

Latest Comments


Diamanti is a good player but I don't see him as Italy's trequartista, I just think Giovinco or Cass ...

They really really need it bad, considering the tremedous success Juventus are having at home, you w ...

great matches are sucked dry by empty stands.the lack of atmosphere hurts the broadcast image of ita ...

Well said Mina, Conte did a great job this season, but he still needs to learn more, sticking to ath ...

Interesting and very true about Marchisio. But no mention of Matri? I know he shouldn't solely be re ...

Excellent article... Vucinic is obviously off-form and Boriello, well he was never going to be on-fo ...

Juve must win against chievo , i dont think draw it will be enough , chievo they are very dangerous ...

By any reason Juve , they deserved to win against Milan. that is referee decision may be they couldn ...

Yes AC Milan's second goal was incorrectly disallowed, but true also is the fact that Juventus' firs ...