Yesterday's match was unpleasant. Distasteful. Hard to watch. Even downright agonizing at times. But it happened. It was a huge setback that Napoli couldn't afford, but it still happened, because life's funny that way. Not funny ha-ha, though. More punch-you-in-the-face-for-your-lunch-money-then-stand-over-you-laughing funny.
Wait, that's not funny, is it? Well, that's how things were against Hellas Verona for Napoli, amusement or no, and now we're left with the difficult task of judging who performed the best for the boys in, er, white and declaring a man of the match. Delightful.
Mariano Andujar - 2 - Made about five terrible mistakes, and only got punished for two by sheer blind luck. Please come back, Rafael.
Giandomenico Mesto - 2 - Had his worst game as a professional footballer that I can remember from him. Was consistently thrashed by a very mediocre winger in Gomez, was actively harmful to Napoli's attack when he got forward, and his clumsiness helped set up Verona's opening goal.
Raul Albiol - 4 - Rash tackles and sloppy fouls and poor decisions abound from Albiol yesterday. His booking means that he's suspended for the Atalanta match next weekend, which then means that we'll see a central defense pairing of Henrique and Britos if Koulibaly is still out. That's not fun.
Miguel Britos - 5 - He tried. He mostly failed, but he gave it a hell of a lot of effort. It's not his fault that Albiol didn't help him with Toni much and Toni is a terrible mismatch for him.
Faouzi Ghoulam - 4 - This may have been Ghoulam's worst match in a Napoli shirt. Was woefully ineffective supporting the attack, and struggled to contain Jankovic, who really isn't all that good.
David Lopez - 5 - Lopez tried, hard, to do something to stop or slow down Verona's midfield. But with three of them surging forward on every counter and zero support from his partner, he got overrun a lot.
Gokhan Inler - 3 - From a couple decent appearances to ... whatever that was. A bunch of useless long-range shots, a ton of useless passing and loss of possession, and utterly worthless off the ball in terms of defense or offering help to his side's attack. Stellar. Whoscored actually has him rated as Napoli's best player because all they care about is accumulating counting stats like shots taken, dribbles attempted, and tackles tried, not what actually happened on the pitch or the quality of any of those efforts. Anyone with eyes can tell you a vastly different story for Inler's "quality" on Sunday.
Jonathan De Guzman - X - De Guzman was on for a full hour and while Whoscored's chalkboard claims he had 40 touches, I honestly can't remember a single one. He wasn't just bad, he was practically invisible he was so uninvolved. But Rafa keeps trotting him out because Rafa gonna Rafa.
Marek Hamsik - 5 - Lots of effort, but little support and no final product as a result.
Dries Mertens - 6 - Actually kind-of-sort-of-almost made things happen a few times yesterday, but just looked tired by the end of the match because he's been playing a lot more than he's typically capable of lately.
Duvan Zapata - 6 - Zapata is drawing a lot of criticism for not scoring yesterday, but he actually deserves a lot of credit. The big Colombian worked his ass off in this match, often taking on two or three defenders by himself. Yes, he only got three shots and one on target, but he was forced in to bad angles and tough spots a lot thanks to only Mertens getting in to the box with him with any regularity. Higuain wouldn't have done any better if he had started, and indeed he did no better as a sub.
Jose Callejon - 5 - His willingness to run over De Guzman's unwillingness to do anything was certainly helpful for Napoli and helped turn the momentum their way for awhile, but his actual product in the final third was ... lacking.
Gonzalo Higuain - 4 - He came. He saw. He got stonewalled by Verona's defense.
Manolo Gabbiadini - 6 - It's shocking how much energy and willingness to get in to the box can help change a match, eh? Though his best try, indeed Napoli's best try all day, was a long-range scorcher that cracked off the post.
Who was your man of the match for Napoli against Hellas Verona? Vote in the poll below and discuss the performances in the comments!