Since Napoli’s overwhelming Scudetto triumph in the 89-90 season-when they beat Sacchi’s Milan to the prestigious title, no team from Southern Italy have managed to win it.
Even the two giants from the capital (Lazio and Roma) managed only one each at the start of the new millennium.
This season however, it looks different. The Partenopei have a 100% record in the Serie A, and on Wednesday night they overcame German giants Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
A SWOT Analysis is a method used by a business to identify the future direction of the firm under four main criterions: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threats.
The Spaniard is a manager who has coached at the highest level. When it comes to dealing with games, he will know what to do.
For example, the difference between the number of passes stringed together against Dortmund, and the number of passes completed in the Bologna, Chievo and Atalanta games is very notable.
According to the Stats Zone app, against Dortmund on Wednesday night, Napoli completed 408/481 passes.
However, against Bologna, Chievo and Atalanta- the Neapolitans completed 469/534, 633/710 and 585/683 passes respectively.
What does this indicate? This statistic simply indicates that he knew against Dortmund what to do; the team had to be compendious and posthaste without losing concentration. How does this apply to the Serie A?
It applies greatly. In the big games, Benitez will be able to make his players adapt abruptly to the style he would like them to stick to during the game.
This is a factor where I feel Napoli have got a major advantage in. Their squad depth is frightening.
If we take out any player from the Starting XI, we can replace him and his stand-in will be on roughly the same level.
For example, if we remove Higuain from the line-up, we can replace him with Goran Pandev or Duvan Zapata.
The former has been limited to a more peripheral role of late, but we should not forget his quality and achievements.
Did we even mention that Napoli are without captain Paolo Cannavaro due to suspension?
His role, albeit important has been taken up by Hamsik, while Britos and Albiol partner each other in defence.
Squad depth and talent do play a colossal role in a team, but mentality counts for everything.
For example, did Greece have the strongest squad in 2004? The answer is a definite no, but their mentality made up for it.
Last season in the Premier League, QPR had in fact spent an astronomical amount of money, but their belief and mentality made them succumb to relegation.
Do Napoli have the belief and character to win the Scudetto? As Goran Pandev said in an interview with ESPN “"We won’t repeat the same mistakes from last season which saw us lose the Scudetto against small clubs," he said.” The Partenopei have been playing eloquent football lately, but enticing football is not the whole story.
There will be some games in which they have to grind out a win. Let’s not forget, the matches Napoli have played in this season were relatively open.
Competitors have little Depth
As I mentioned earlier, this is a major advantage. For example, when Milan were 2-0 down in Turin against Torino, the Rossoneri replaced the injured Kaka with Valter Birsa.
According to StatsZone, the Slovenian managed 0 shots on goal and only made 9 passes since his introduction. The same goes for their city rivals. Last season when Diego Milito was injured, the Nerazzuri suffered greatly.
This season, with Walter Mazzari at the helm, their fortunes might change. However, if Inter suffer another injury-plagued season, they will simply not be able to deal with it.
The Artemio Franchi is our next stop. Last week, it was reported that both Mario Gomez and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado had sustained injuries during the Viola’s game with Cagliari.
Although they romped past Portuguese outfit Pacos de Ferreira, Vincenzo Montella altered the formation. Both Joaquin and Borja Valero played in behind Giussepe Rossi, with the Fiorentina coach opting to go for a double trequartista role.
The name itself explains everything; the major external threat. La Vecchia Signora have been tipped by many to not only win the Scudetto, but to claim the Champions League as well.
Juve are programmed to win, and have astonishingly lost five times in the Serie A the past two seasons.
The Bianconeri have a winning mentality and a belief that they can reach unprecedented heights. Although their flexibility and adaptation to the Champions League is questionable, they know how to win in Serie A.
For example, against Lazio. Despite the Biancoceleste equalizing before half-time, Juventus got the job finished and scored thrice to go on and win 4-1. They keep focused, do not crumble when they are trailing, and have got a very good squad.
What do you think? Do Napoli have what it takes to win the Scudetto?
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