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[av_heading heading=’What made the difference in Roma vs Napoli match’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’THE BEAUTY OF A 1-0 RESULT’ color=’custom-color-heading’ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ custom_font=’#ffffff’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

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Author: Daniele Lo Monaco

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Are the most entertaining matches the ones between the big teams that end 5-0 or maybe 4-3 or perhaps the ones that end 0-0 or with a win that was just barely pulled off?

The debate is open amongst experts, but everyone agrees that

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in a high scoring game, a poorly performing or badly arranged defence is always a contributing factor.

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This is why the Roma-Napoli match, a match between two of the best Terrestrial teams in Serie A (we won’t consider those Martians from Juventus in these rankings) was a brilliant match even if it ended as a squeaker in favour of Rome (but it could have finished with a draw or with a win for Napoli).

In these extremely balanced matches where the teams, the sectors and the individual players make very few mistakes, in the end centimetres make the difference, as the Rome manager said at the end of the match.

For example, the centimetre of that toe that allowed Ruediger to get there before Hamsik in the 38′ minute of the second half with the Roma goal wide open or the centimetre that Callejon didn’t have in his desperate slide tackle on Nainggolan for the decisive shot six minutes later. But tactically the two coaches really have nothing to feel badly about. [av_hr class=’invisible’ height=’10’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’]

The defensive arrangement was magnificent

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Different play strategies (4-3-3 for Napoli, 4-2-3-1 for Roma) but the same effectiveness in the phases without ball possession, with compact teams that were always ready for a turnover.

Spalletti chose a double hinge in front of the defence, relying on Keita’s geometric sense and Pjanic’s creativity. Nainggolan was farther forward, behind the “fake nine” Perotti but alongside him to help disturb the lead Neapolitan ball carrier, whether a centre back or playmaker Jorginho. On the wings, ready attack diagonally but also ready to push outside, were Salah on the right and El Shaarawy on the left, lined up on the “reverse foot”.

Spalletti was constantly on the defenders to tighten up the space behind the midfielders in order to keep Sarri’s three forwards (Callejon, Higuain and Mertens) and Hamsik (more active than Allan in manoeuvring to get open) from being able to work the ball without pressure in the midfield.

In the deadlock during the final moments, after a substantially balanced match (Roma was better in the first half and Napoli more lucid in the second), it was also the disruptive personality of the two old men Spalletti had on the pitch that made the difference: Maicon and Totti. On the right wing and based on their initiative the play began that Nainggolan then completed.

And Napoli, already punished by Juventus in a match with a very similar epilogue, is now in a position where they must even worry about slipping out of second place. Although Sarri still did a brilliant job.
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Daniele Lo Monaco
Journalist and UEFA B Coach

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