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Napoli 0 Parma 1, First Thoughts

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A largely uninspired home performance saw Napoli drop three points and, potentially, lose their most important player.

Higuain did not have much luck today.
Higuain did not have much luck today.
Giuseppe Bellini

Napoli 0
Parma 1 Cassano 81'

  • From the Credit Where It's Due department, Pablo Armero had a pretty decent start to the match. He broke up a dangerous Parma counter very smartly and was generally pretty tidy in defense. He certainly wasn't stellar, but it was one of his better matches of the season and was encouraging to see.

  • Goran Pandev is a pretty fair player, but he's just not a very good backup for Marek Hamsik. He tries to be, but he just doesn't have the creative nous that's needed in that position. During the first half, Napoli had better luck building play through Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne than they did through the man in the middle. That's just not how the team normally functions, or what Rafa Benitez usually likes to see.

  • The first half was mostly dour, with few real chances to be had. Gonzalo Higuain could have had a pair, but Antonio Mirante did well to parry the ball both times. Callejon might have had a chance, but he elected to pass to an offside Pandev instead of shooting himself. Parma had a couple of great chances during a good spell of play for them, but they apparently left their shooting boots at home as both were fluffed badly.

  • I miss Walter Gargano and wish he was still playing for Napoli. There. I said it.

  • To emphasize my earlier point on Pandev, the five minutes that Hamsik was on looked infinitely better than any of the 70 minutes that Pandev was on the pitch. Unfortunately, Hamsik apparently broke in those five minutes and was replaced by Dries Mertens. Crap crap crap crap crap.

  • Cassano's goal was a horrible display of defense. Despite his largely solid play on the day mentioned above, Armero went to sleep, and Britos got turned around while trying to cover back. Once Britos was out of the picture, there was nobody in position to do a thing to help Reina out. It was a nasty cap on a largely ugly day for Napoli.

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I suppose this is a good moment to introduce myself: Hi. I'm Conor Dowley, part of the new staff that Kirsten is assembling to help run the ship around here. I won't bore you with my full biography, but the short version is as such: I'm an American (from the Seattle area), and have been a Napoli fan since 2009. Liverpool is what made me fall in love with the sport, but Napoli is what cemented my love of Serie A. I also write about Liverpool for The Liverpool Offside here on SBN.

We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on The Siren’s Song, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.