Juventus
    Juventus
      29.03.2014 10:19 - in: Serie A S

      #TacticalTalk: Napoli

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      The Partenopei are the most prolific side in Serie A apart from Juventus, and the forwards are well backed up by a midfield whose passing makes the team unit a tough one to handle

      After overcoming the hurdle of Roberto Donadoni’s tricky Parma side last week, Antonio Conte also has an intriguing tactical battle on his hands this time around with his latest adversary in the opposition dugout, Rafael Benitez.

      The Spaniard is known for organised team units, and his Partenopei side are no different. Gokhan Inler, one of the league’s most accomplished passers, keeps things ticking over in midfield, and up front the forwards have often combined to deadly effect.

      Gonzalo Higuain has reaffirmed his status as a reliable source of goals during his first season in Italy, with 14 in Serie A and 21 in total (including a notable four in the Champions League group stage).

      Jose Callejon has also provided a strong goalscoring contribution with 16 overall. The side have won 10 of the 11 league games in which the 27-year-old has scored.

      Elsewhere, Marek Hamsik is due a goal after 12 league games without and Dries Mertens provides a pacy threat on the wing.

      Indeed one of the Partenopei’s greatest strong points is speed. They top the Serie A statistics for goals scored on the counter attack with nine.

      Many of Napoli’s strikes have come about through tap-ins, with Higuain the specialist at being in the right place at the right time. Set-pieces, on the other hand, have not proved so fruitful: just 21.1 per cent of their goals have come from a dead-ball situation, fewer than any other side.

      Napoli have won just one game after going behind, so it would be a real test of their mettle if the Bianconeri were to get an early lead on Sunday.

      Benitez’s preferred formation is a 4-2-3-1. In the side’s last match - the 4-2 win over Catania -  it was Duvan Zapata up front, with Lorenzo Insigne, Hamsik and Callejon supporting behind, while the setup in the last match at the ground where Juve will run out on Sunday was the same but with Higuain leading the line.

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