How has Carlo Ancelotti kept Napoli competitive in Serie A?

Charlie Dear | 25 October 2018

Ancelotti adapting once again in Naples

Napoli were supposed to be at risk of their carefully constructed identity after Maurizio Sarri’s departure to the Premier League.

The club who have been Juventus’ nearest challenger in last three years, had to rethink after Chelsea swooped in for their progressive manager.

They moved for the ultra-experienced Carlo Ancelotti whose style isn’t exactly as free-flowing as ‘Sarri-ball’.

However, with Napoli sitting just three points off top spot, they are 9/2 to finally secure the league title.

So we take a look at just how Ancelotti’s ‘quiet leadership’ is working…

Tactical approach

The loss of Jorginho left a massive void in the engine room of Napoli midfield.

In the 2017-18 season the midfielder chalked up a passing accuracy of 89.5%, creating 1.7 chances per 90 minutes.

Ancelotti quickly decided that club captain Marek Hamsik was his man to perform this deep-lying role.

Hamsik is known for his attacking intent and long-range strikes. But he has started to become more of a facilitator for the likes of Piotr Zielinski and Allan to attack.

Getting the best from his strike-force

The long-term injury to Arkadiusz Milik was frustrating for Sarri last season but meant he could only play one way.

He put his faith in a passing style headed by Dries Mertens and it nearly paid off as they went agonisingly close to the Scudetto.

But although Ancelotti has the giant Pole back fit, it’s Lorenzo Insigne who’s been given a new lease of life.

The 27-year-old’s last five appearances have been as a striker, rather than on the wing, and he was even named as captain against Parma.

Insigne has plundered five league goals from that position and added two more in the Champions League.

How far can they go?

Ancelotti’s autobiography centre’s around his quiet leadership philosophy. His unique style has taken him to management roles in Spain, France, England and most famously at AC Milan.

He commands the respect of everyone in the game. He showed in the draw with Paris Saint-Germain recently that he can still go toe-to-toe with some of the best managers of the current era.

It was Inter Milan at 12/1 who were supposed to supplant Napoli as the nearest challengers to Juve this campaign.

But you can never rule out Ancelotti. A man that has enjoyed success wherever he’s gone could just have one last hurrah in the idyllic settings of southern Italy.

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