While Napoli may have captured the attention of Europe’s elite following their 4-1 destruction of Liverpool in midweek, they’ve been quietly impressing Serie A fans since the beginning of the season.
In fact, Napoli sit second in Serie A just two points behind surprise leaders Atalanta, while they’re unbeaten in five matches. This run has included a superb 5-2 win at Verona on the opening day, while their 2-1 victory against Lazio in Rome also underlined their title credentials.
Sure, the Naples side aren’t currently among the top two favourites to win Serie A with most Crypto Bets sites, but former coach Giovanni Galeone believes that they’re best-placed to claim their first title in 36 years. But is this the case?
Napoli’s Title Drought
Napoli have a limited roll of honour in Italian football, not winning their first Serie A title until 1987.
In fact, 1986/87 remains the best season in Napoli’s history, when they completed a league and cup double thanks in part to the brilliance of record signing Diego Maradona (who cost €12 million from Barcelona in 1984).
Maradona had just won the World Cup with Argentina, and the diminutive forward provided an exceptional cutting edge in attack. He was also supported by other signings like Ciro Ferrara, Salvatore Bagni and Fernando De Napoli, as the club won the title by three points and beat Atalanta 4-0 to lift the Coppa Italia.
A UEFA Cup win (Napoli’s first major European title) followed in 1988/89, before the side won their second Serie A title the following season.
Here, they overcame a superb AC Milan side by two points, with the Partenopei awarded two points for a game in Bergamo when an Atalanta fan threw a 100 Lira coin at Alemão’s head.
Since these halcyon days, Napoli have largely underperformed and underachieved, although they’ve recently built an impressive squad that may be ready to compete for the title.
How Far Can Napoli Go?
Former coach Galeone is adamant that the new Napoli side can improve on its form towards the end of last season, when they ultimately finished third and just seven points off top spot.
There are also some standout players in the Napoli squad, starting with the dynamic 28-year-old midfielder Piotr Zieliński. The Pole is a regular starter and starred against Liverpool, scoring two and assisting another in the comprehensive 4-1 win.
Then there’s the 21-year-old winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who’s the type of precocious talent that can fire any side to a title win.
The youngster, who also excelled against Liverpool and tormented both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez on the right side of the defence, scored three goals in his first you league matches this season and also assisted on debut in the 5-2 win over Verona.
He was also named Serie A player of the month for August, hinting at a bright immediate and long-term future.
Despite enduring a difficult summer that saw several key players leave, Napoli have built a bright and vibrant squad that looks set to challenge for the title in 2022/23.
They’re certainly among the favourites, and this could finally be the year where Napoli win the Serie A title once again.