Despite coming off a disappointing midweek result and heavily rotating the side, Napoli came out swinging and dominated Chievo Verona. Marek Hamsik was the runaway star of the day with a beautiful pass to set up one goal followed up by a strike of his own, but the entire team stepped up in a big way to make sure they got the result they needed.
We saw some early signs of promise in the attack with some delightful combinations between Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon, and Manolo Gabbiadini, but those largely came to naught thanks to some solid last-ditch defending from Chievo and quality goalkeeping from Stefano Sorrentino. Behind that attacking trio, though, a certain Slovakian was doing work, and Napoli were looking fantastic because of it.
Marek Hamsik was a constant hub of activity all match long, surging forward to support the front three, flying back to shield the defense, and constantly whipping the ball around to create dangerous chances. One of those turned into a jaw-dropping scooped pass to Callejon that sent Chievo’s defense scrambling, opening up space for Gabbiadini to exploit, taking a pass from Callejon and making no mistake in his finish.
Just 15 minutes later, it was Hamsik scoring for himself, taking one touch off a delightful throughball from Insigne before rocketing in a shot so hard it almost went through the net instead of just hitting the back of it. It was a wonderful capper to the first half, and the 100th goal of Hamsik’s illustrious Napoli career — an incredible mark and one well earned after so much wonderful work for the partenopei.
The second half was quieter, with Napoli content to play the possession game and play out the string. Chievo could hardly threaten, aside from one busted play that saw Antonio Floro Flores scamper free before Kalidou Koulibaly stormed back and stopped his attack cold. Floro Flores tried to win a penalty with a rather theatrical flop onto the pitch, but the referee wasn’t interested, and Chievo’s best scoring chance of the match died a quiet death.
It was an easy and comfortable win for Napoli, which is just what the doctor ordered coming off their midweek disappointment. They have a tough match coming up on Wednesday with Benfica coming to Naples for a Champions League duel, so getting a positive result here to reestablish their momentum was key. Job’s done on that front, and they got a superlative performance from Hamsik to boot. Not a bad day at all.
On to the next.
Napoli: Reina; Maggio, Albiol, Koulibaly, Ghoulam; Zielinski, Jorginho (Allan 69’), Hamsik; Callejon, Gabbiadini (Milik 64’), Insigne (Mertens 81’)
Goals: Gabbiadini (24’), Hamsik (39’)
Chievo Verona: Sorrentino; Birsa (Izco 63’), Dainelli, Cesar, Gobbi; Castro, Radovanovic, Hetemaj; Cacciatore (De Guzman 63’); Inglese, Meggiorini (Floro Flores 58’)