clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Porto. Fiorentina. What to do?

Rafa insists both second place and advancement in Europa League are important. So, with Napoli's thin squad, who plays when?

is it just me or do Henrique and Jorginho seem wary?
is it just me or do Henrique and Jorginho seem wary?
Valerio Pennicino

Do you ever get the feeling that the Napoli squad wasn't really prepared to both compete for the top places in Serie A and make a deep run in Europe? Obviously the team has been hit hard by injuries to Camilo Zúñiga, Giandomenico Mesto and even Marek Hamšík's layoff.

But times such as this one, when Napoli played on Monday, have a must-win match on Thursday and then face fourth-place Fiorentina on Sunday sure make it seem like the squad is stretched thin. Of course, it doesn't help that Bruno Uvini must be dead, Duván Zapata can't be trusted and Josip Radošević is only allowed five minutes at a time (although depth at central midfield is adequate, we must admit).

We've talked again and again about what positions the partenopei must strengthen come summer. We'll talk again and again about it in the summer. But with the squad now...who plays when?

Many of us were surprised to see that Rafa Benítez didn't make many changes to the squad that faced Torino. In that miserable match, Valon Behrami came on for Gokhan Inler, Henrique replaced Anthony Réveillère and Lorenzo Insigne gave José Callejón ten minutes rest.

That means Gonzalo Higuaín has played all but 7 of the last 180 minutes. Marek Hamšík has had 16 minutes rest. Ziggy, 21 minutes all together. In what is possibly the most frightening revelation, Réveillère has played all but 17 of the last 180 minutes.

Christian Maggio won't be back, which means Rafa is almost certainly going to have to take a chance on Henrique on the right - and the Brazilian wasn't all bad there in the last minutes of the Toro game. We're also almost certain to see Goran Pandev get a start, while Insigne gets traded in and out regularly for Dries Mertens. Finally, we know it will be Jorginho lining up against Fiorentina, but who will be beside him, and who gets the two spots for Porto - especially considering Valon looked a bit out of sorts on Monday night as well?

Keeping in mind that the Catania midweek match is next, what would you do? Do you keep playing Marek and Pipita and hope they can make it through another 165+ minutes? Do you start Pandev against Porto, hoping that the San Paolo is enough to compensate? Do you start Pandev against Fiorentina? Do you pretend Pandev doesn't exist? And should Blerim Džemaili be given a shot?