Everyone hates the international break. Especially this particular international break, considering the fact that only about 100 players scattered throughout the world are set to suit up for matches that actually carry some importance. Internationals are getting more and more meaningless and scheduling this break, just as clubs are getting into their flow and the Champions League is in full swing and for goodness sake MLS is in the middle of its playoffs well...well it's just dumb.
But maybe, just maybe, it's good for Napoli?
The partenopei got off to a great start this season. Five straight wins, including beating Dortmund in the first Champions League group match. It was rather surprising, considering Walter Mazzarri took off to Inter Milan in the summer and Rafa Benítez brought in a whole host of new players. Rafa ruthlessly chucked out the old guard -- Paolo Cannavaro, anyone? -- and even got his side playing a new formation, and playing it well, by the time the season started. A new coach, an almost revamped starting XI, and a different tactical approach to the game, and Napoli did it with style.
Then came the cracks, the chinks in the armor. The draw against Sassuolo showed that perhaps Benítez didn't know exactly what to do with a less-than-favorite starting XI. The loss to Arsenal demonstrated Napoli could be comprehensively beaten. And the lack of clean sheets proved that yes, Napoli's back line should've been reinforced during the summer. Silly Rafa. Foolish Rafa.
And then. And then, and then, and then.
Let us not speak of that.
The point is, this break might actually be beneficial to the partenopei. It could give them a chance to catch their breath. Despite the fact that there are 12 Napoli players off with the national teams, not one of those matches actually carries any weight. There's no need for Lorenzo Insigne to attempt show-off strikes against Germany, or for Gonzalo Higuaín to go it alone against Bosnia. Marek Hamšík won't be under such pressure to not put a foot out of place when he dons the Slovakia kit for their friendlies.
(however if any of these opposing players put so much of a hair out of place on any one of those Napoli heads, so help him god...)
Would it be better if there was just a break, period, and Napoli could train together in the run up to Parma? Of course it would be. At least this time the game isn't until Saturday evening, so the players will be able to regroup. Let's hope that being away from all this pressure, the pressure to be good and perfect, helps shift a bit of the burden from their shoulders.
Parma's not a weak side. And after that, it's Dortmund in Germany. So if this break gives them space to breathe, so much the better. For once, maybe we shouldn't be complaining.