Napoli have extended their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions as they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners over Frosinone at the Stadio San Paolo.
The hosts began the better of the two sides, and got themselves in front after just seven minutes. The Frosinone defence failed to clear from a corner, with the ball falling kindly for Piotr Zielinski who powered a driven shot from 18 yards out into the bottom corner of Marco Sportiello.
Napoli continued to dominate possession along with creating all the chances, and doubled their lead in spectacular fashion five minutes before half time. Algerian international Adam Ounas drove towards the visiting defence before unleashing a stinging strike from almost 30 yards out which flew into the top corner, leaving the keeper with no chance of saving it.
The second half began much like the first did, with Napoli in control of possession. Faouzi Ghoulam – who was making his first appearance of the season having recovered from a long-term knee injury – had a golden opportunity to mark his return to action with a goal, however he somehow managed to blaze a close-range effort over the bar.
It was a moment he’ll want to forget, however he soon made up for his error after turning provider for Napoli’s third goal. His in-swinging corner found the head of Arek Milik who was able to direct his effort on goal and past the keeper. It was then the same combination who created the home side’s fourth goal with Milik tapping home Ghoulam’s inviting cross with five minutes left.
Here’s a breakdown of the afternoon’s events:
Key Talking Point
It was a comfortable afternoon for Carlo Ancelotti’s men who secured an emphatic win. It always looked to be a tough task for the visitors to get anything from the game, however even with the likes of Dries Mertens and Jose Callejon missing, Napoli were able to get the job done in impressive fashion.
The win proved to be an important one as not only have they kept the pressure up on the league leaders Juventus, they’ve now extended the gap between themselves and Inter in third place to six points, giving themselves a comfortable cushion over their rivals in the Serie A standings.
With no new injuries inflicted on Ancelotti’s squad, it was the perfect day at the office for his side – who will now be fully focused on getting the job done during the week to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League, and they’ll certainly be looking to produce a similar performance to the one they did today.
Starting XI: Meret (7); Hysaj (6), Luperto (6), Koulibaly (8), Ghoulam (8); Ounas (9), Allan (7), Hamsik (7), Zielinski (8); Milik (9), Insigne (7).
Substitutes: Younes (6), Rog (6), Diawara (6).
STAR MAN – With a number of regular starters being rested ahead of Napoli’s crucial Champions League clash on Tuesday night, Ancelotti included Ounas in the starting lineup and he certainly made the right call. The Frenchman caused the opposition defence problems all afternoon and was a real bright spark for the home side.
Mama mia, just seen that Adam Ounas goal!
— Solace Chukwu (@TheOddSolace) December 8, 2018
He got his reward for his efforts towards the end of the second half with a spectacular goal from long range which settled the nerves for his side. He fully deserved the standing ovation he got from the crowd when he was subbed off, and he’s certainly given his manager something to think about going forward in terms of team selection.
WORST PLAYER – On a day where the forwards did the damage, Sebastiano Luperto had a fairly quiet afternoon. The visitors didn’t pose much of a threat to the Napoli goal all afternoon, although there was one questionable moment for the Italian defender in the second half.
He put his side in a slight spot of bother as he failed to spot his own keeper rushing out of his goal to clear the ball, and instead collided with his own man with the opposition unable to capitalise on his mistake. It didn’t cost his team in the end, however it was the one sign of weakness for the home side all afternoon.
Starting XI: Sportiello (5); Goldaniga (5), Ariaudo (6), Capuano (5); Zampano (6), Chibsah (6), Maiella (6), Beghetto (5); Campbell (5), Cassata (5), Pinamonti (6).
Substitutes: Ciano (6), Ghiglione (6), Soddimo (6).
It was the perfect day for Napoli, who not only took all three points, but also came away with no new injuries ahead of their crucial Champions League clash against Liverpool on Tuesday night.
They’ll need to be at their best if they are to secure a place in the knockout stages of the competition – with Ancelotti’s men needing just a draw to secure qualification.
As for Frosinone, their struggles continue as they remain in 19th place and they’ll be hoping for a much improved performance when they host a high-flying Sassuolo side on Sunday afternoon.