By June 2023, and likely some time before then, Napoli will have ended their 33-year wait to be once again crowned Italian champions. With 26 Serie A matchdays behind them, the Partenopei are storming their way to the Scudetto, and they’re proving capable of winning games in just about every way possible.
It is precisely that ability to win in so many ways that will see Napoli crowned deserved and undisputed champions. There’s no other side in Italy – and probably very few, if any, in Europe – that are anywhere near their level this season, and it’s hard to think of a single fault in Luciano Spalletti’s team.
Against Atalanta on Matchday 26, Napoli showed that they’re able to grind out wins even when they’re not fully firing, and they showed how capable they are of scoring any kind of goal to secure three points. That win left them just seven wins away from the Serie A title.
Kvaratskhelia already verging on immortality
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been the signing of the season in European football this term, and he is one of the most influential players around. With Victor Osimhen alongside him in attack, the Georgian didn’t take long to show his worth after arriving in Italy and they quickly became the most lethal offensive force in Serie A.
Against Atalanta, Kvaratskhelia was needed to unpick a stubborn, though not watertight, Dea defence. As he has done so many times this season, he danced his way through bodies, threw others to the ground by dropping shoulders and feinting to shoot. When he did pull the trigger, he rifled the ball into the roof of the net, putting a different finishing touch on a goal that was otherwise similar in how impressive it was to the one he had scored away at Sassuolo a matter of weeks earlier.
The win against Atalanta didn’t come easily. Napoli would go on to score again through Amir Rrahmani, this a towering header from a set piece, but they will have left the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona knowing that they’ve seen off one of the trickiest opponents in the country – only Napoli themselves and Lazio have a better away record than Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta in Serie A this season.
Despite the gulf in class between the sides and the winning margin of two goals, Napoli had to almost grind out their win over La Dea. Add to that their ability to blow teams away – see their hammering of Juventus – and to comfortably see off sides without going through the gears – Sassuolo and countless others – and you’ve got clear evidence of Spalletti’s side’s ability to beat just about any opposition in any and every way.
When Napoli lift their third Serie A title against Sampdoria in early June and the curtain falls on the 2022/23 Serie A season, there won’t be any one moment that can be pointed to as decisive, nor will there be any one kind of performance. This Napoli side can do it all, and that is why they can do something really, really special this season.