At Ajax’s home, in a stadium whose name is Johan Cruijff ArenA. There, where you don’t expect it, the Naples once again experienced a historic night, right where the history of European football is practically in his backyard.
Still in this season: that of the re-foundation and of a new cycle, in men and in the mind. Because going to reassemble that goal in the cold suffered, with that vehemence and that gap, is a demonstration of how beliefs are skyrocketing today, an essential factor to ensure that even the legs turn properly.
The blue one is a perfect blend: where the immense merits of the transfer team end, the merits of Luciano Spallettipassing through a team that is on track and that gets more and more consensus.
The complicated moments will also comei, certainly, but the current one is a wind that turns in the stern and that the blues are exploiting with the utmost praise, dispelling all doubts and perplexities of the beginning of the season.
Enjoying the moment is a right and a duty, as well as thinking that dangers and hostilities are on the ford. Without forgetting that some of them are also current, because – if no one had not noticed! – this Naples is missing a certain Victor Osimhen.
An absence that in other times sounded like a death sentence on the ambitions of Naples, today remained undermined and even exceeded. Definitely thanks to the super impact of Giacomo Raspadori, as well as that of Giovanni Simeone.
But not only: because the absence of the Nigerian – unfortunately a constant in recent years over the various seasons – this time is replaced by the collective. Magnificently, numbers and results in hand.
How important was the absence of Osimhen? The comparison with the past seasons
Trying to sift through the numbers of the past seasons and comparing them with those of the current one (without forgetting the latter are entirely provisional), we realize how Napoli have absorbed the absence of Victor Osimhen in a different way.
In the first season in blue (2020-21), when the Nigerian was strongly conditioned by shoulder problems and Covid, the Azzurri in the league went from an average of 2.12 points per game with Osimhen on the pitch to one of 1.76 without him.
Slightly better went in the second season, the first in the blue of Luciano Spalletti and that of the bad injury to the face, when the average points with and without Osimhen went from 2.18 to 1.91.
This time, however, Napoli did not feel the blow in the least, winning all the races in which the Azzurri have done without him.
The numbers regarding the production in attack are also impressive: if in the 2020-21 season, the average goal per game in the league remained unchanged (2.24 versus 2.30), the same cannot be said for last year, when the average from 2.07 dropped to 1.54 without the former Lille. Not a dramatic fact in itself, but which perhaps weighed heavily on the Azzurri’s Scudetto hopes.
This season, however, in the two games without the number 9, Napoli scored 15 times in 5 matches between the league and the Champions League: a fact that, in short, speaks for itself.
The extra man
The premise is a must: a pawn like Victor Osimhen can never represent a burden for Napoli, despite the fact that things without him – at least for this year – are going just fine.
The Nigerian will always represent an added value in the options under consideration by Spalletti, who with Raspadori and Simeone remain well fed. And this was reiterated by the same technician during the post-match press conference in Amsterdam.
“We can’t wait for Victor to come back”the technician kept in mind.
As if to underline the concept that, even if Napoli doesn’t seem like that anymore Osimhen-addicted as in the past, his return, now on the horizon, represents the extra weapon for this team, which continues to amaze and write important pages, in the most unthinkable ways and moments. Even without the one who, to date, is the extra man who can help this Naples even more to amaze more and more.