Napoli’s fine-tuned attack rounds into form, hits for seven on the road
The visitors went wild away from home this week as Lazio beat Pescara 6-2 and Napoli went one better, destroying host Bologna 7-1 thanks to hat tricks from Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens. The result put Napoli into second place ahead of Roma, which plays Fiorentina on Tuesday. It also put Mertens, the Belgian winger who has been converted to center forward after the early-season injury to Arkadiusz Milik, atop the Serie A scoring chart with 16 goals.
Mertens is Europe’s top marksman on current form. Since December he has scored 14 goals in 10 games, and his purple patch has coincided with Milik's return to fitness, as he stayed on the bench in Bologna.
Napoli is Serie A's top-scoring side and takes on Real Madrid in the Champions League in eight days. Mertens will keep his place for that one, said coach Mauricio Sarri.
“I don’t see the need to change system. We have the most prolific strike force in the league, so I should change it?”
He also paid tribute to Lorenzo Insigne, who “is playing at a level he perhaps has never reached before.”
This could also be a historic season for skipper Hamsik, who is now only six goals away from Diego Maradona’s record as all-time scorer with 115 goals.
“I hope to beat the record, and I’m happy to be getting close,” he said. Juventus remains six points clear at the top after beating Inter 1-0 on a phenomenal goal by Juan Cuadrado, but Napoli is keeping the pressure on, and it's three-headed monster may just concern Zinedine Zidane, too.
As La Gazzetta put it Sunday: “Sarri symphony for the three tenors.”