There was some surprise amongst the footballing world when the Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentis chose the day after a 4-0 win in the Champions League to sack their coach Carlo Ancelotti. This win saw the Italian side qualify for the Champions League knockout stages but it was not enough to save the job of the coach who has already won the competition on three separate occasions. The combination of indifferent league form and significant unrest in the dressing room saw Ancelotti relieved of his position with the former Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso appointed in his place.

This match, away to Sassuolo, represented an opportunity for us to get a look at this Napoli side under their new coach and new tactics. Coaching changes midseason are always interesting as we see a new coach trying to implement their playing philosophy on a side that was built for someone else. Indeed, a large part of this Napoli side was at the club under Maurizio Sarri so they have experienced this change in style once already. Now they would have to do it all again.

Sassuolo are gaining a reputation as a side that plays an interesting style of football with an emphasis on positional play as they attack through the thirds. Under coach Roberto De Zerbi they have recruited well, often from within Italy, and created a young squad with a great deal of attacking intent.

This tactical analysis will show how Napoli came away with a difficult 2-1 Serie A win despite being outplayed for large periods of the match.

If you want to read the full tactical breakdown of this game, head over to or click HERE

Total Football Analysis Magazine #16: December 2019

If you love tactical analysis, then you’ll love the digital magazines from – a guaranteed 100+ pages of pure tactical analysis covering topics from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and many, many more. Buy your copy of the December issue for just ₤4.99 here