Napoli deservedly beat Sassuolo. As it is obvious that Sassuolo is not Barcelona. But we knew this even before
There is one aspect that is surprising in the post-Napoli-Sassuolo chronicles. The Var has intervened four times and has canceled as many goals scored by Sassuolo. There is however one aspect to be clarified. Var is not a draw draw. It is not a Russian regulation roulette. In that case we could appeal to the luck of Gattuso’s team. Var arrives where the human eye fails. We do not go into discussions on the optical illusion, on the difficulty of grasping the moment when the ball starts with the naked eye. Precisely for this reason – certainly not for the ridiculous rule on handball (which will always be the same but before penalties like this were not whistled) – football felt the need to rely on technology.
Napoli was not lucky. Napoli put Sassuolo offside four times and then scored. Or, if you want, Sassuolo has not found the right time in its actions. At least in a couple of occasions, the first two, the offside was visible to a trained naked eye (in both cases Koulibaly quotes Baresi with his arm raised, even without the same sicumera) but the linesmen – by regulation – must wait for the action to end. It’s the new football. It is a sensation that four goals have been canceled, but one day there may also be eight. Nothing changes.
It is not the goals rightly canceled for offside to direct the progress of a game. Then, one can discuss the millimeter offside, as in the case of Berardi for the third goal canceled, but this is another matter. We can also agree. But if in sports we discuss millimeters and centimeters, we don’t go out anymore. Let’s go back to Moser-Knetemann in 1977. Or to the USSR basket at the siren of the 1972 Olympic final. And thousands more cases. We could write an encyclopedia.
Napoli won with merit against Sassuolo a team that has recently beaten Lazio and has put Juventus in difficulty. And last night he also created some headaches at Napoli. Nothing surprising happened.
The numbers of the match – as highlighted also in Alfonso Fasano’s tactical analysis – are overwhelmingly on the side of Napoli. The chances are nine to one for Napoli, that of Insigne – for example – sensational; the shots on goal eight to one for Napoli. Because offside goals are not worth scoring chances. Napoli played almost triple the number of balls in the opponents’ area: 67 to 24.
This is the photograph of Napoli-Sassuolo. Then, it goes without saying that Sassuolo has nothing to do with Barcelona. It seems obvious to us that on the occasion of the second goal canceled, Messi would not have delayed the pass for Griezmann (or Ansu Fati) who would have happily gone in goal. Or, again, if Koulibaly those two balls at the start of the game in favor of Djuricic and perhaps Caputo, should lose them at the Camp Nou against Suarez and Messi, the outcome would be different. But we must not delay in explaining that Barcelona is slightly more competitive than Sassuolo, despite all the difficulties it is going through. To understand it, nothing would have changed even if we had beaten De Zerbi’s team 5-0. Also because we do not believe at all that Gattuso will set up the game in the same way: we will rightly return to the healthy double bus with a license to leave, as in the first leg.
It’s not that if we play tennis against a good player who serves and volley, we do the general tests for a hypothetical match against John McEnroe. They are journalistic simplifications that have the only intent to try to make attractive matches that otherwise on July 25 a person, even if passionate, would never watch. Because, let’s face it, there is no valid reason to watch these games. As the Auditel data testify.
What we have not understood are the declarations of the end of the game of Gattuso who also fell in the common place on Naples and suddenly transformed from a master of the sadomasochism to an impotent observer of the alleged vices of the players (which he also denounced). You can’t always throw the cross on players. Populistically it works, but the people cannot be the measure of everything. It was the most disturbing moment of the evening. Definitely better the phrase: “In two weeks we can make the history of Napoli.”
Much more attention will be needed in Barcelona, there is no doubt. It will take a real game. Let’s not forget that so far Napoli have beaten and drawn against Liverpool and drawn in the first leg with Messi and his companions. It will take attention for 95 minutes. Not a simple undertaking. But also the reasons will be different. We will talk about it on the evening of August 8th. In the meantime, Napoli-Sassuolo should be set in the right perspective: Napoli has deserved to win even if at Sassuolo they have canceled four goals for offside.