Few takeaways from the game last night, now when emotions have settled.
Our basic tactical layup looks like 6-4 formation with only Theo coming between the lines. I really can't understand why Pioli won't go for 3 in a mid basic setup with mezzalas, when we clearly lack the front movement for 4231 formation. We did get away with it last season, but we had Kessie and Krunić in the mid and they forced lots of turnovers for our quick breaks.
Our squad relies on quick transitions, not continuous ball hogging (our possesion % is rather small this season) and we can't expect those when we defend with basically 6 players. We are simply not able to swarm players and cause turnovers this way.
I was very skeptical about Pioli when we signed him, but he quickly managed to turn me around, mostly with his progressive/adaptive thinking after all tjose years of side/back passes and sitting deep. Now I feel he let the scudetto set some unrealistic (emotional) evaluations of our players. Our biggest strenght is the unit, the team. This is painfully obvious in the last few away Serie A games, when we had to scrape against Empoli and Verona.
That's why I sensed immediately last night when Leao missed the second chance we'll be in problems, because when we face high press it's fundamental we have Bennacer/Adli/Krunić, a type of a player who drop deep and find spaces for transitions.
We could get away with playing Kessie-Tona combo last seaon because they took lots of loose/second balls in our third and forced quick counter-attacks, but now we simoly cannot do this anymore with this setup and it's painfully obvious. Benna is so fundamental in our play because he is so agile and press-resistant in small spaces (something people choose to forget about Kessie, nobody could take the ball away from him).
All this I also put on M&M, because we all knew that even Renato would leave us exposed in this type of games. Majority of the commode was saying we don't really need CDK, I feel his arrival has cost us Adli and his growth. He was excellent in our preaseason and just the type of advanced mid we need if we want to be around 1st place come end of the season.
Napoli will face tough times also, but I fear we simoly don't have that (foremost) mental capability this season to use that to our advantage. We are very "turned on" at the beggining of matches but our finishing is below par this year (remember first 20 minutes in Sassuolo in august, same thing as last night).
Good news is all this is solvable, even with our depleted roster. Pioli's no fool, he'll mix things up definitely and find a way. He always did. None the less, we should manage our expectations to this season, because none expected Napoli to be this good. If they get 90+ points (and they very well could be), hats off to them really.
Sorry about long post(s), I rarely can find the time to post something here so it's always wall of text.