Napoli dominate boring Bologna, regain their flying form and top of the table.

Napoli dominate boring Bologna, regain their flying form and top of the table. post thumbnail image

Napoli starting 11: Ospina, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Mario Rui, Fabian Ruiz, Anguissa, Elmas, Lozano, Oshimen, Insigne.

Bologna starting 11: Skorupski, Theate, Medel, De Silvestri, Hickey, Dominguez, Svanberg, Mbaye, Vignato, Orsolini, Barrow

Goals: Ruiz (18’) Insigne (41’ 62′)

Napoli 3 Bologna 0

After their first dropped points of the season, Napoli were hoping for a quick turn around in form. Their record was still excellent, but a win for the home side would take them back to the top of the table. Young midfielder Elmas was brought in for Zielinski and once again Politano was swapped out for Lozano, the right wing was still a contentious spot for Spalletti.

Bologna themselves were hoping for an upset, despite being in mid-table, their exciting young attack of Barrow and Orsolini were capable of doing real damage.  Scottish wing-back Hickey was also looking to make his mark, having impressed for the away team. Arnautovic however was unavailable for the match-up.

Spalletti was missing from the Napoli sideline, having been given a one match ban for supposedly sarcastically clapping the ref in the previous match.

Napoli were faster off the mark in this match, Mario Rui received the ball at the edge of the box but he could only drill it into the hands of Skorupski. Oshimen seemed ready to terrorise defenders as seen by a ball won far up the field which he squared to Insigne who squandered the opportunity one on one. 

They wouldn’t have to wait long for another opportunity however and Ruiz would take full advantage. After Bologna once again gave the ball away in their final third, Lozano squared it to Elmas at the edge of the box who forced the ball to Ruiz, who scored a trademark long range curler which Skorupski was unable to save.

In the following minutes, Napoli started to move into cruise control, seemingly parked in Bologna’s half. Bologna would have to be careful not to collapse early, they would not want a repeat of their 6-1 thrashing by Inter.

The next major event of the match once again fell to Spalletti’s men, a chipped Insigne cross into the box was met by a sprawling hand by veteran Gary Medel… the centre back. After a VAR check the penalty was confirmed.

 Insigne was looking for penalty redemption after having his previous two saved, but this one was excellently put away for Napoli’s second of the night. 

As the 1st half came to a close, Napoli seemed firmly in the drivers seat.

The Partonepei started again with some promising attacks, it took clever interventions from Skorupski to prevent any real damage. Bologna still had some hope however, their leaving man Barrow coming into the game had scored 4 in his last 4. But up till now had been shut out by a resolute Napoli defense.

Bologna’s first real shot in anger would fall to Barrow, trying to curl a shot round Ospina, but safely clearing the far post.

Oshimen was looking to get his name on the score sheet, corralling the ball at the edge of the box, and flashing the ball across the goal but just wide. Di Lorenzo would also attempt a shot at close range but somehow was off target. 

Napoli would gain their second penalty of the match after Oshimen went down. After reaching the ball first in the box, he received contact from the Bologna fullback and was brought down. Insigne’s 2nd strike was even more emphatic than the first, drilling the ball into the back of the net. 3-0 Napoli.

Napoli were in total control now. Bologna looked totally downcast, Sinisa Mijajlovic would now look to limit the damage rather than get a result against the league leaders.

After scoring 2, Insigne’s night was over coming off for Zielinski. A classic outing from the Napoli skipper. Lozano, who had a quieter night but never stopped running also came off for Politano. 

Oshimen, although goalless, made an excellent overall effort today. It was his pressure that caused both errors for the penalties and was unrelenting in his attacks. The only thing he was missing was a goal. 

Anguissa would be the next Napoli player to make an attempt. His long range strike clipped the cross-bar. What a goal it would have been. 

Mertens was the next substitute on for Elmas, he was still looking for his first of the season following a long injury. His return to form would be an essential depth piece for late in the season.

Oshimen would test Skorupski again with a strong header but the keeper saw the attempt the entire way making a smart save in the closing ten minutes. 

Bologna were possibly entitled to a late penalty, as the ball clearly struck the hand of Ruiz whilst in his own box but the entire event was ignored by the referee. Perhaps deeming that the Spaniard had no intent to handle the ball.

Napoli probably should have scored another, both Oshimen and Mertens coming close but failing to add to their already impressive scoreline. The final notable event of the match was the return of Faouzi Ghoulam, the once venerated fullback who had been through injury hell in the past 4 years coming on for a cameo in the dying minutes.

That would indeed be all for the match. Napoli had indeed returned to their very best this season, completely dominating a sorry Bologna and certainly should have scored more. They now had 9 wins and 1 draw from their past 10 games.