Three takeaways from Bologna 0-0 Napoli: Osimhen’s frustrations and an anonymous Kvaratskhelia

Napoli's title defence has not gotten off to the best start and they dropped points again on Matchday 5. Naturally, concerns related to both Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia are growing.

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Napoli made it three consecutive Serie A fixtures without victory on Sunday evening after an uneventful 0-0 draw with Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Matchday 5 of the 2023/24 campaign.

With the visitors dominating much of the game, they will be disappointed that they did not return to Naples with three points, especially when star striker Victor Osimhen missed a late penalty for the Partenopei.

Giacomo Raspadori in action for Napoli against Bologna. (@sscnapoli)

Victor Osimhen needs more support from his teammates

Having scored five goals in six games against Bologna previously, Napoli have been reliant on the Nigerian during contests with the Rossoblu and it looked as though that confidence would once again be repaid, but the 24-year-old crashed a low drive off the goalpost on five minutes, which signalled how the afternoon would go.

Osimhen has drawn a blank in each of his last three Serie A matches for the Partenopei and needs more support from his teammates, both on and off the pitch. Too often the Neapolitans have struggled to create from wide areas this term or provide numbers forward during his attempts to bring others into play, and striking replacements from the bench have barely offered coach Rudi Garcia adequate alternatives.

Therefore, while many will point the finger at the former Lille man for his woefully missed penalty on 72 minutes as the reason for failing to leave the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara with three points, others amongst the Napoli squad need to take a look at their own contributions, almost since being confirmed champions weeks before the close of the 2022/23 campaign.

Where is the Khvicha Kvaratskhelia of 2022/23?

Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in action. (@sscnapoli)

This time last season, despite being in its infancy, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had already been terrorising Serie A defences and played a major role in a 4-1 demolition of Liverpool in the Champions League group stages, but there has been little sign of that wizardry from the Georgian international this term.

Against the Rossoblu it was clear that the 22-year-old was aware of his struggles and determined to recover the form of 12 months ago, and Bologna captain Michel Aebischer was rightly booked for dragging Kvaratskhelia to the ground on 30 minutes, but his efforts arguably made things worse as he was rushing his play.

Multiple times this season, the attacker has been too quick to fire a shot off at goal or made the wrong decision just when a goal would have looked almost certain before, and he was guilty of that again in Emilia-Romagna. However, with the Neapolitan’s Scudetto defence quickly turning into one of the worst in recent memory, he has few places to hide for the next few weeks as he looks to rediscover his previous form.

Bologna continue to strengthen under Thiago Motta

Bologna coach Thiago Motta. [@Bolognafc1909]

While Bologna failed to register back-to-back Serie A wins for the first time since November 2022, their home form continues to impress and they have lost just once in their last 10 fixtures at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, and continue to impress under the stewardship of coach Thiago Motta.

However, only Salernitana have drawn more games than the Rossoblu in 2023 and they must start turning some of those draws into victories if they want to improve upon the ninth-place finish last term and challenge for a European qualification spot.

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