Three takeaways from Napoli 0-1 Empoli: Time up for Garcia after another toothless attacking display

Napoli fell to an extremely disappointing defeat on Serie A Matchday 12 with Empoli striking late, and it spells the likely end of Rudi Garcia's tenure.

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In the buildup to this Serie A Matchday 12 fixture, many expected Napoli to prove themselves and build some confidence against Empoli. Very few expected a 1-0 loss, especially one in which the away team deserved the win.

The Azzurri were tactically superb and closed down attacking spaces for Napoli throughout the game. Alongside this, the visitors regularly tested Pierluigi Gollini and finally got what they deserved at the end.

A well-worked combination down the right-hand side with Tyronne Ebuehi at the heart of things eventually was worked to Viktor Kovalenko, who finished superbly with an effort that curled away from the Italian goalkeeper, kissing the post before it nestled. 

In a game where the Partenopei had to prove they had the desire and a plan, they proved neither. Upon the final whistle, the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona erupted into whistles, showing their distaste at the players and above all, Rudi Garcia

Napoli toothless in the final third

Napoli’s Giovanni Simeone looks to the sky in frustration. [@sscnapoli]

Before Christmas, Napoli have fixtures against Real Madrid and SC Braga in the Champions League, whilst also having games against AtalantaJuventusInter, and AS Roma in Serie A. As such, three points and a good performance here was a must.

Rudi Garcia experimented with his front line, which didn’t pay off. The Neapolitan outfit had an xG of just 0.78 – their lowest figure in Serie A since Serie A 2022/23 Matchday 33 against Udinese

Obviously, without Victor Osimhen, Napoli are not expected to be the same side. However, it was felt so much more against Empoli, especially given the in-form Giacomo Raspadori was shifted wide to allow Giovanni Simeone to spearhead the front line.

When Khvicha Kvaratskhelia appeared from the bench, the Partenopei looked better. However, they can not rely on him to single-handedly inspire victory.

Empoli can kick on now after a huge victory

The headlines will focus on Napoli and the disappointing performance that they showed, but nothing can or should be taken away from the visitors. The Azzurri were exceptional throughout the game and the execution of their game plan was perfect. 

In every sense, they did what they needed to; nullifying Napoli’s threats and then countering them with threats of their own. Etrit Berisha deserves a lot of credit for his performance. Nonetheless, every player does as they were superb on Sunday. 

To win in the 90th minute has taken them out of the Serie A relegation spots and as a result, they should kick on with a bar in place as to what they are capable of. 

Rudi Garcia’s time is up

Napoli coach Rudi Garcia. [@sscnapoli

The writing is on the wall for Rudi Garcia. Truthfully, it has been for some time. Rumours of his sacking, or potential sacking, have been swirling for weeks. However, it seems as though after the result against Empoli, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis will act. 

After the 2022/23 season, many expected Napoli to be leading the way in the title-race again. It hasn’t gone that way, though. The noise regarding Garcia’s position has only gotten louder as the season has progressed, and his side has regressed. 

The Ciucciarelli currently are ten points away from the top of Serie A. There is a lot of football left to play this season. As such, Napoli need to act quickly. They are showing no signs of long-term improvement.

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