After two back-to-back disappointing results, which saw Napoli lose their top spot in the league table, the Parteinopi need a change of form if they are to overcome their 1-0 defeat last week in Spain against Villareal. A monumental feat no doubt, as Villareal have a solid hold on the fourth place spot for next season's Champions League in La Liga. The Spanish club have a plethora of great players at their disposal, a roster with the likes of Johnathan Dos Santos, Adrian Marin, and Thomas Pina.  Beginning their La Liga campaign with a string of draws and losses, Villareal managed to shoot to the top, cementing their position in fourth place.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Napoli fought till the end in their first leg tour, but were unable to conjure up a response to Suarez's 82nd wonder strike that rattled the back of Pepe Reina's net. 

Napoli needs a quick response

The first match between these two clubs saw the San Paolo side play the typical defensive match with few opportunities on the offensive line.  This needs to be changed in the return leg this evening, with Higuain, Gabbiadini, and Insigne having to prove their worth in a 4-3-3 starting formation.

Advertisement

Higuain was unusually absent until the very end of the match, a misstep by head coach Maurizio Sarri. From the opening whistle, Napoli needs to corner Villareal at home, requiring a 2-0 victory in order to progress into the next stage of the Europa League. Napoli played very lethargic in the first leg and fans realized that Sarri was hoping his side could pull off a draw in Spain. A typical mistake made by most clubs when playing away.

Don’t miss the latest news!
Click on the topic you interest most. We'll keep you updated with all the news you shouldn't miss.
Donald Trump

Bayern Munich proved that you can score on foreign soil. Their two goals in Turin this week prove the importance of an open style of play when playing in an away leg. Napoli now must do the same at home, by beginning their match with more then just a center forward and play maker in their starting eleven.

Strategy will prove all the difference

It's unquestionable that in their first leg Napoli were hoping for a draw in Spain.

With a starting line up that excluded both Insigne and Higuain, Sarri made the erroneous mistake of benching top strikers. Now, the club must play catch up at home in the San Paolo, needing two quick goals in order to overturn a 1-0 deficit against a Champions League quality side like Villareal. Three terrible results at home and abroad seems to have knocked out some of Napoli's self confidence and it's up to Sarri to guide his team through this difficult period of the season.

Advertisement

For a coach who prided himself on the combination of Higuain-Insigne on the front line, and Gabbiadini on the flank, all three were absent last time around, and after a loss to Juventus, and a undeserved draw against AC Milan midweek, Napoli have to prove themselves if they are to conquer both Italy and Europe this season. Tonight's match up represents more then just a mere contest between two European clubs.  Everything boils down to how Napoli will overcome this crisis and move forward after a string of missteps.

Advertisement

Every team goes through a rough patch in their lifetime, but what makes a team great is their ability to overcome the hardships during a mid season slump.

Napoli has 90 minutes to turn things around

A team needs a leader, and head coach Sarri has to put the pieces back to the puzzle and rebuild his club's confidence. Putting Higuain on the bench again will be a disastrous decision now that his squad has to chase their opponents at home. Pep Guardiola had it right when his side faced Juventus in Turin. The away goals rule is there for a reason. What Napoli needed to do right from the opening minutes in Spain was to put the nail in the coffin of Villareal. Now, they must begin anew at San Paolo. Napoli is a great team capable of winning the Europa League, a triumph that has eluded Seria A clubs since Parma triumphed back in 1999.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more