It would take a minor miracle for a Serie A Matchday 18 fixture to be blander than the 0-0 draw between Napoli and Monza. If you spent the 90 minutes watching the sidelines and the drama that took place there, you may have had more enjoyment than watching the action on the pitch that yielded no goals.
The only thing on the pitch of any note was a penalty. A tame Andrea Colpani effort hit Juan Jesus’ arm, and the referee awarded a penalty. It could’ve been a perfect smash-and-grab moment for the visitors, but Matteo Pessina’s resulting spot-kick was weak and saved easily by Alex Meret.
Monza’s game plan was almost executed perfectly. Throughout, they frustrated the Partenopei, and Napoli just could not find a way through.
Palladino almost concocted the perfect away performance
If there was a blueprint for how to visit the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Raffaele Palladino is currently in possession of it. He set his side up perfectly for the game, at least from a defensive standpoint.
The Biancorossi gave Walter Mazzarri’s side no space to attack. If somehow the Partenopei penetrated their defensive line, they quickly found a solution and either repositioned or acted on the threat.
Whilst Napoli had 25 shots, only nine were on target. A lot then has to be said about Michele Di Gregorio, who saved every on-target shot, preventing a total of two expected goals in the process.
Drama on the sidelines
It says an alarming amount when the only entertaining factor in a fixture featuring the reigning champions is three dismissals that went to individuals not on the pitch.
Mazzarri received his marching orders after going to back his players up and then involving himself in an altercation with a Monza player, making it the Partenopei’s third red card in two games.
There was drama in both technical areas, though, as Palladino was also shown red for arguing with the officials, and later, Mirko Maric was sent off for the same despite being an unused substitute.
Napoli still struggling after Garcia’s departure
After sacking Rudi Garcia, it was hoped that things at Napoli would improve. If anything, they have regressed, and they do not show any signs of improving. Victor Osimhen has just penned a new deal at the club, however, even this hasn’t seemed to bring any positivity.
So far this season, the Azzurri have won 11 times from 24 games in all competitions, whilst having also lost eight games. To add some context, last season, across all competitive fixtures, they lost just seven times.
Napoli, obviously, were incredible last season. However, to already be in a situation where they have lost more games than their previous season, with half of the campaign left to play, you have to wonder how much worse that statistic may get.