Cagliari vs. NapoliBy: Neil | November 24th, 2012
Based on the last two and half weeks — or even the last two and half years — the big question is how will Napoli’s offence look without Cavani? The Uruguayan talisman is suspended due to yellow card accumulation so Pandev or Vargas will play prima punta with Insigne as seconda punta. When was the last time Cavani had a quiet game and Napoli won? It’s not like the team falls apart without Cavani, but his goals are often the difference between winning and not winning. That’s the value of a great striker. Probable lineup: De Sanctis, Gamberini, Canna, Britos – Maggio, Inler, Behrami, Hamsik, Zuniga – Insigne – Pandev (if healthy)
This is Napoli’s first game in Cagliari’s new Stadio Is Arenas. The Sardinian club had been looking to get out of the Sant’Elia and actually played its home games during the second half of last season in Trieste. Now they have renovated the Is Arenas, which was formerly a Serie C2 stadium, into a 16,000 seater ready for Serie A action.
Sadly the Sardinian club has been a merry go round of managers over the last few years. President Massimo Cellini is no stranger to sacking managers and/or making hasty and emotional decisions. Here is a recap of recent mangers:
2010: Pierpaolo Bisoli
Nov 2010 to Aug. 2011 – Roberto Donadoni
2011 – Massimo Ficcandenti
2011 – April 2012 – Davide Ballardini
April 2012 – May 2012 – Massimo Ficcandenti
2012 – Ivo Pulga
This is Pulga’s first managerial post. Thus far Cagliari have compiled a 4-4-5 record, good enough for 11th place in the standings. The club has the same midfield spine of previous season with Conti, Cossu, and Nainggolan anchoring the team. Two young strikers to watch for are Victor Ibarba and Marco Sau. The 22 year old Ibarbo is a good all around player with size, speed, ball control, and strength. He already has 4 caps on a Colombia team rich in strikers like Falcao, Jackson Martinez, James Rodriguez, and Parma’s Dorlan Pabon. Marco Sau is a native Sardinian and has been with Cagliari since 2007, getting loaned out a number of times to smaller clubs to gain experience. The short (5′7″) striker made a name for himself recently with a couple of goals against Inter getting Cagliari a point.
All signs point to this one being tight and low scoring: Napoli knows they will struggle without Cavani and won’t be looking to give up anything at the back as their talisman is not there to bail them out. Could be a similar game to two seasons ago when a last second Lavezzi goal broke a 0-0 draw and gave Napoli a morale boosting win. And last season this game did end 0-0.
Prediction: 0-0 with Mazzarri claiming it was a difficult stadium and Napoli did well and should have won.
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