Last night we saw another installment of the Derby Del Sol better known as the Derby of the sun between Roma and Napoli. Two of Italy’s biggest heavyweights went head-to-head in a hugely important match. Coming into this game there was only one point separating the teams from each other. Roma has found a run of form after a sluggish start to the season with two consecutive wins against AC Milan and Udinesse. For the first time all season they’re playing with momentum and confidence even though they have so many players injured they have found a way to recapture the quality they showed before the injuries. Meanwhile, Napoli was without a win in their last three matches and suffered a 2-2 draw to Atlanta on Wednesday in a game in which they took the lead on both occasions. Roma lost the season series last season but this is a different Roma. Everything was on the line a victory for Roma was an opportunity to enter the title race. We saw a Roma team that is capable of dealing with adversity and challenges. Roma found a way against Napoli’s high-powered attack and earn three valuable points. Nicolo Zaniolo struck first for Roma scoring in his fourth consecutive games as he has proven he is just a different kind of special this season. Early in the game, the youngster received the ball from the wing coming from Leonardo Spinazzola The Talented 20-year-olds cut through the box before slicing the ball into the roof of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. Roma had an opportunity to double it not long after as an A penalty. It was quite controversial mainly because fortunately for Alex Meret denied Alex Kolarov from 12 yards out. Up to that point, Roma has had all the momentum and we’re making things very difficult on Napoli. However, the penalty save gave Napoli a lifeline nearly taken the lead a but Chris Smalling came out of nowhere to make a goal-line save in what would have been the equalizer. Through the final minutes of the first half, Napoli hit the crossbar twice and miss several game-changing opportunities that could have made a difference. Early in the second half Roma took all the momentum back and was breaking almost regularly. Roma eventually broke through again as Javier Pastore used intelligence and anticipation to draw a penalty yet again as Napoli was called for a handball in the Box. Jordan Veretout stepped up this time the Frenchman beat Alex Meret into the top corner to give Roma the 2-0 lead as he scored his first goal wearing the Roma shirt. Napoli we’re a disaster finding it very difficult to find a grip in the game however late in the second half they got one back as Milik scored for his fifth straight game as Napoli minimized the deficit. however, Roma was just too much to handle and did an exceptional job defensively once again. Napoli tries to rally late with a free kick in stoppage time but ultimately misfired as time expired at the Stadio Olimpico. Roma beat Napoli at home for the first time in two years and move into the top three. They are now within striking distance of the top it is unlikely that Roma will win the league but they are in the conversation now with another terrific performance. Roma is catching fire at exactly the right time this is not a team anyone wants to play right now when they become healthy this Roma team will be a problem.
What’s Wrong With Napoli?
There’s something wrong with Napoli right now there’s no denying it there’s clearly a problem. Napoli is without a win in the last four games they may have already sabotaged themselves in the title race. After a loss to Roma Napoli dropped out of the top six for the first time this season. Going into the year there was a lot of expectation and based on the team there was no question in my mind that they were the biggest threat to Juve. Yet they’re not even playing like a top 6 team. They had a relatively strong start but there were gaps in the foundation early there was a certain cause for concern this team too good to be doing this poorly. Defensively they aren’t as good even though they added pieces but it still hasn’t made a difference. This team is full of quality with dries Mertens Lorenzo insigne Milik and even brought in a Chucky Lozano they have quality players across the board. Napoli was outplayed for the majority of the match their goalkeeper kept them in the match. This was expected to be the year that Napoli could take the crown in Italian football to win the title for the first time since 1985. They had the team to do it there but their discipline and the inability to come through when it is asked of them has been the problem. They have the best manager in Italy without question but even with him, there’s just something not right with this Napoli team. If they’re not careful they could miss out on Europe. If they don’t find a resolution quickly this could get worse before it gets better. The talent in this team can not be questioned they have the ability to win the league but have been unable to perform at the level that we expect from them this is a club that seems to not do well with expectation they need to find a way through Roma is significantly less talented than they are and they were significantly the better team something needs to change.
Nicolo Zaniolo is the REAL DEAL
Nicolo Zaniolo for 2.5 million value will go down as one of the greatest transfers of all time in Italian football. Certainly the best Roma transfer ever. When Inter Milan attached Nicolo Zaniolo to a swap deal Radja Nainggolan I don’t think they realized the talent they were giving up. The Belgium International is no longer with Inter Milan and Nicolo Zaniolo has become of these single best youngster in Italian football. He has been absolutely Sensational a tremendous potential around someone who is capable of becoming one of the best in the world certainly in Italy. He is operating in a different class this season he has been nothing short of Sensational. Last season he showed incredible promise but had inconsistency throughout the season. Zaniolo registered six goals last season this year he already has the same amount. He is in terrific form and is one of the best youngsters in the world. I would argue outside of Killian Mbappe Joao Felix he is the best youngster in the world. He is on a torrid form right now having scored in 4 consecutive games he has been a huge difference-maker this season for Roma. He’s gotten the opportunity to play on the outside which he seems to have more freedom and space to be effective. This allowed him to be so much of it more of a goal-scoring threat. The goal he scored this week against Napoli was he has developed by execution and intelligence. Nicolo Zaniolo still needs to work on decision-making but overall he has had a sensational campaign so far and he will only continue it is shown how important he is to this Roma side that he committed to over the summer. A lot of teams in Europe would love to get their hands on this kid and as the days go by his value continues to rise up even though he has made it abundantly clear that he wants to build something in Rome. Many years ago Francesco Totti once said that his heir isn’t here yet but one day he will arrive. Nicolo Zaniolo is the air to Francesco Totti. However, it’s more about what he’s going to create his own legacy and he is proved that consistency with the ability to come through and big moments. He has scored in two out of the three Europa League games Roma has played and on top of that has goals against AC Milan and Napoli. This kid is a different kind of special he will be the driving force behind this team for years to come he was just special. Not only in the goal-scoring sense but his ability to supply teammates also has that toughness and physicality just fight for every ball. He is a complete player and once he reaches his full potential he will bring a scudetto to Roma. This week has been no different he was one of the best performers this week and it’s not particularly close the way he impacts the game and the way he is come through for his team when they have counted on him is why he’s so highly regarded being one of Europe’s best youngsters. Performances like this or something we are starting to get accustomed to he is approaching world-class status this week has only further proved that he is on fire and in great form and we should only see this continue. This kid is the real deal he is a different kind of special that doesn’t come along very often just watch.
The results for Napoli was highlighted by missed opportunities. Roma was the better team but despite that Napoli had a chance to come back into it that could have completely changed the game. Roma is playing with such momentum in confidence I still have an intuition that Roma still would have won the game but Napoli blew their in the game’s biggest moments. A penalty save on Kolarov give Napoli a chance back in the game. All of a sudden they were starting to play with the momentum they were attacking with much more success. Napoli lost this game at the end of the first half there was no coming back after sabotaging their chance to get back into the game. It was all Napoli for the final 10 minutes of the first half it was their opportunity to get back into it. They failed to deliver their clinical finishing in front of goal was just not good enough. They wasted chances and ultimately cost them points. I believe Roma still wins the game but if they score before the second half there’s an entirely different perception in the game. They don’t have anyone to blame but themselves. Napoli hit the bar twice one came on an open goal there’s no doubt they should have scored. Napoli put one of those goals in the back of the net we have a different game their failure to do that in the most important moment of the game is why we saw the match slip in the second half.
Roma Enter Title Race
The expectation for Roma this season was to get back in the Champions League last week they got into the top four. It is very early in the season but it’s certainly something that it appears could maintain. If they continue to play with this confidence momentum and intelligence they will certainly be playing in the Champions League next season. This team has a legitimate chance to win the Europa League the confidence under Paulo Fonseca over the last couple weeks has been immensely important. They are just at a different level right now. This team is not even fully healthy yet and they are playing some of the best football of the Season. Not only are they getting results but they’re playing beautifully orchestrated attacking football. Beyond that, they might have just found themselves inside the title race. Roma has not been in a title race since 2016. When Roma had Mohamed Salah edin Dzeko together. That is the last time Roma has even been remotely involved in the title race they are still unlikely to win it but they are close enough that they have an outside shot. Quite honestly That season Roma probably should have won the title but they failed to do so I’m not here to dwell on the past where I am telling you as Roma are in the title race. This team has the infrastructure and the inside of it to win the league title even if it’s not this season. Being involved in this is progress. Roma finds themselves in the top three as they continue to play phenomenal football. The scary thing is this team still has a lot of major injuries they’re not back yet and when they are completely healthy this team can potentially be incredibly dangerous. It seemed like this with Lorenzo Pellegrini and others back in the side it’s going to be a big problem for a lot of teams. Roma is back in a title race and this could be the season trophy drought ends.
Alex Meret Napoli’s Silverling
Napoli significantly struggled yesterday against Roma there’s no denying that. Alex Meret was the silver lining he was absolutely sensational his ability to come through and make big saves in important moments is what makes them so great. He is one of the best goalkeepers in Italy and a future of the Italian national team. Alex Kolarov rarely misses from 12 yards out Napoli’s goalkeeper was able to deny him. Napoli was in the game but they were losing themselves inside of it and a large part of that was because they had already had the lead they scored that penalty the game ends. Napoli did not play very well and that’s not the fault of the goalkeeper but he came through and kept them in the game even though it felt like they were going to have difficulty securing all three points after a very slow start with to the game. It wasn’t just saving the penalty Roma had several opportunities to a breakthrough in big moments and Alex Meret stood in the way denying them what could have been a blowout. He to a certain extent distract the fact that Napoli was so bad yesterday. He was close to flawless you cannot fault him for either of the goals he got beaten by a wonder goal and a second penalty and even on Roma’s penalty they scored he got his hand to it. He did everything he needed and everything that was asked of him he is a sensational goalkeeper and will have a long career in Italy and Europe. You can see the quality in the matter he plays he kept the game as close as he could He did his part the problem is his teammates didn’t do their part. He is one of the best goalkeepers in Italy and despite the results he proved that last night with a tremendous display.