Having set out to challenge Juventus and Roma for the Serie A crown at the start of the season, Napoli kicked off their campaign with a last-gasp 2-1 win away at Genoa on the opening day, secured by Jonathan de Guzman’s injury-time strike.
Late September then brought about a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Udinese at the Stadio Friuli, before Jose Callejon’s first-half strike sealed all three points in a 1-0 triumph over Sassuolo.
Two hard-fought stalemates against Inter (2-2) and Atalanta (1-1) followed in the subsequent month, with Gonzalo Higuain then deciding the sole action of November as Napoli registered a 1-0 success away at Fiorentina.
With winter approaching, Duvan Zapata’s stoppage-time equaliser salvaged a point in a 1-1 draw versus Sampdoria, before the Neapolitan-based outfit rounded 2014 off with a disappointing 2-0 reverse to Milan at the San Siro.
The cloud, however, was soon lifted in the maiden action of the new year, Rafael Benitez’s men recording an impressive 4-1 victory over Cesena in Emilia-Romagna.
Two further triumphs against Lazio (1-0) and Chievo (2-1) followed before the Partenopei saw both their title bid and European aspirations take a significant hit on Valentine’s Day after Palermo ruled victorious with a 3-1 win in Sicily.
The result seemed to hamper Napoli in their subsequent encounters, as they suffered a trio of consecutive defeats to Torino (1-0), Hellas Verona (2-0) and Roma (1-0) throughout the course of March and start of April.
But the rut was soon brought to a halt after Jose Callejon and Manolo Gabbiadini struck either side of Antonio Balzano’s own goal to record a fine 3-0 success away at Cagliari.
That respite proved brief though as Empoli then became the seventh team to beat Napoli, coming out on top in a six-goal thriller, before already relegated Parma held their own in a 2-2 draw at the end of last month.
With only two domestic games of the season remaining, Benitez’s men currently lie fourth in the standings, three points behind Lazio who occupy the third and final Champions League spot.
If Napoli want to reconfirm their place in Europe’s elite competition next season, they’ll have to claim a crucial victory against a Juventus side unbeaten on home soil in the league since January 2013.