Napoli made very light work of opponents Empoli at home on Friday, producing an emphatic 5-1 win in front of their fans to climb back up to second place in the Serie A standings.
A hat-trick from Dries Mertens, as well as goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Arkadiusz Milik, saw to it that Empoli were well and truly beaten.
The away side did give them a bit of a scare by halving their lead in the second half through a goal from Francesco Caputo. But they stormed back to win by a margin of four goals with a relentless, attacking display.
Below is our breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
I Partenopei‘s attack was as free-flowing as it gets and their counter-attacking worked to perfection.
While they did concede a goal, it was mostly against the grain and the run of play; and they immediately regained their 2-0 lead after Empoli trimmed the deficit to a single point.
Sarri-Ball is no longer, with the former boss having taken his brand of attacking play to Chelsea. However, Carlo Ancelotti is still one of the best around and his system seems to be working very well in Naples.
Of course, it helps that he has a defender such as Kalidou Koulibaly in his side. The Senegalese centre-back was rock solid, as per, and created the first goal with a tackle and a resulting assist to get things going for his team.
Starting XI: Karnezis (7), Hysaj (8), Maksimovic (7), Koulibaly (8.5), Malcuit (7), Rog (7), Diawara, Fabian, Zielinski, Insigne (8.5), Mertens (10)
Substitutes: Ospina, D’Andrea, Albiol, Ghoulam, Mario Rui, Allan (7), Hamsik, Callejon (7), Millik (8), Ounas
Dries Mertens: The Belgian forward scored three impressive goals for Napoli on Friday, with the second an absolute worldie. It’s no wonder Sarri wanted to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
The 31-year-old has scored seven goals and assisted two others in 11 outings this season and is still one of the hottest attackers around Europe.
Nikola Maksimovic: The Serbian actually played a good game, but he didn’t do well enough to read Caputo’s run, which led to the player scoring a goal.
This win leaves Napoli just three points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, having pushed them back above Inter. However, they do have a game in hand over both of the aforementioned.
Ancelotti’s side have relatively easy league fixtures up next, with Genoa, Chievo, Atalanta and Frosinone their next opponents. But there’s also the matter of dealing with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.