Football

Published on February 27th, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Winners and Losers: No napping for Napoli as Arsenal slump again

Napoli took advantage of an enforced Juventus rest weekend to pull clear at the top of Serie A as Arsenal suffered more Wembley woes

Winners 

Napoli

Maurizio Sarri can be happy: Napoli are now four points clear of Juventus at the top of Serie A. Of course, the Bianconeri did not play, as their match against Atalanta was called off due to snow, but the Partenopei made the most of it, and bagged a win that could be huge psychologically.

Napoli did so by putting five past Cagliari in the same stadium where Juventus had really struggled to get a result only a month ago. At their best, Napoli are simply unplayable.

Pep Guardiola

It won’t be a quadruple, of that we’re sure, but Pep Guardiola can be happy about his first title this season. The demolition of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal in the English League Cup final is one to be remembered, with the Gunners dominated by their Citizen counterparts.

City dominated from beginning to end at Wembley, netting three goals and putting together an all round performance that will go down as one of the most one-sided finals in the history of English football.

Gennaro Gattuso

Had you told anyone back in November that Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan would travel to Italy’s capital city in February and put two past Roma to dominate and win at the Stadio Olimpico, they would have laughed at you.

Fast forward three months, and there you go: Milan are officially back in the race for a Champions League spot, with the work of the Rossoneri legend that has brought unbelievable results. Patrick Cutrone scored again, and even full back Davide Calabria was on the scoresheet to finish off Roma and give the Rossoneri a tremendously positive result.

Manchester United

Romeluo Lukaku and Jesse Lingard, but more importantly José Mourinho. The first two got the goals on the pitch, the latter could celebrate his personal victory over Antonio Conte on the sidelines, following the verbal battle the two have had over the past few months.

Not just that: Mourinho’s United moved back into second in the table, confirming their position, for now at least, as the best after Manchester City. It will be almost impossible to win the title this season, but getting a runners-up spot could be a positive result, especially if the Red Devils continue their march in the Champions League.

Losers

Sevilla

Another “manita”, another five goals conceded as the tenure of Vincenzo Montella on the Sevilla bench struggles to properly take off. Some great games – like against Manchester United in the Champions League – and some horrible performances, such as the 2-5 home loss to Atletico Madrid on the weekend. Villarreal overtook them into fifth, and the fourth spot is now 10 points away.

Roma

What a mess in the Italian capital. The team that had won their Champions League group ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have lost themselves in the second half of this season, falling down in the league standings, after the 0-2 home loss to Milan, and having to turn around a 2-1 away defeat in the Champions League round of 16 against Shakhtar Donetsk. Eusebio Di Francesco’s work had brought positive results, but is now under question: the team that came second last year cannot afford to miss out on a top four finish in Serie A.

Crotone

Two relegation battles in a row, two defeats. Definitely not what the fans wanted, nor what many expected. Crotone fell to minnows Benevento, then lost at home to SPAL at the weekend, being dragged quickly back into the relegation group at the bottom of the Serie A table. Two Ante Budimir goals were simply not enough, and coach Walter Zenga will have to immediately turn things round if he is to avoid problems.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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