Monza take advantage of a Napoli side already on the beach after Serie A title win


Monza‘s impressive maiden Serie A campaign got even better with a 2-0 victory against league champions Napoli on Matchday 35, though the Italian champions’ work for the season already being done did make it seem like their minds are elsewhere. Portuguese forward Dany Mota played an important part in the victory, scoring the first goal and playing a part in the second, which was scored by Andrea Petagna.

Although the Brianzoli produced a superb performance, it must be said that the Partenopei have lost their enthusiasm since securing their first scudetto since 1989/90. The selection of Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti was a clear reflection of that as he gave rare starts to the likes of Pierluigi Gollini, Bartosz Bereszynski, and Alessio Zerbin.

With a number of their stars resting on the bench, it was clear that their replacements could not have the same quality. Even when the likes of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Piotr Zielinski, Matteo Politano, and Giacomo Raspadori were brought onto the pitch, the champions could not break down Monza.

This victory temporarily takes the club from Lombardy to equal eighth place with Fiorentina and Torino on 49 points, putting them in a comfortable position in mid-table.

Napoli give Monza freedom to play their football

Napoli wingback Giovanni Di Lorenzo in action against Empoli. [@Getty]

Throughout the 2022/23 season, Napoli have demonstrated an ability to score at will as well as keep things tight at the back. When they faced Monza on Sunday afternoon, none of those qualities were on show.

Since Raffaele Palladino was appointed as Brianzoli coach, he has created a team that is comfortable on the ball and can create headaches for the opposition. Against the Serie A champions, they did not hesitate to capitalise on the complacency of the away side.

Monza made it 1-0 after 18 minutes when Mota finished off an excellent team move albeit with the aid of a deflection. Then in the second half, Portuguese forward had an effort saved by Pierluigi Gollini, but Petagna was able to control the ball and finish calmly in the 54th minute. Mota came close to adding a third for the Lombard club, but Gollini denied him again.

Raffaele Palladino in training for Monza. [@ACMonza]

Mota an important cog in Monza system

A versatile forward who is comfortable on the ball, Mota joined Monza from the Juventus Next Gen in the winter of 2020, and he has been with the Brianzoli since their rise from Serie C.

Statistically, his numbers do not look that great. He has scored five goals and supplied three assists in 26 Serie A games this season, but his versatility and football smarts have been an asset for Palladino.

He operates as a right-attacking midfielder in the 3-4-2-1 formation, but he has also functioned as a centre-forward whenever Petagna is not available. His speed and ability to draw out defenders trouble any opponent Monza face.


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