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Friday December 27 2013
Cavani who?

When Edinson Cavani left Napoli many fans felt orphaned, hurt and that he would be impossible to replace, but Dave Taylor feels that Gonzalo Higuain has gone a long way to ease that pain.  

Imagine the Three Wise Men without that one who brought the frankincense, the KVWN Channel Four news team without Ron Burgundy or even Punch and Judy without the policeman. It just wouldn’t feel right. Well that’s how Napoli fans imagined it would be without Edinson Cavani guiding their own special group.

Consequently when he did leave last July many were distressed and believed it was the end of an era. In retrospect it was probably the best thing that could have happened. The King’s ransom of €64.5m that PSG paid for the Uruguayan helped build a new, exciting team, no longer dependant on that one player.

Yet new Coach Rafa Benitez knew Napoli still needed a lead striker and brought in Gonzalo Higuain from Real Madrid and today he has helped the memories of the Matador fade away. “It was important for us to find the perfect substitute for Edinson and I think that in this sense buying Gonzalo was the ideal one,” said Napoli’s Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler. Fellow forward Lorenzo Insigne feels the same way. “Cavani always wants to score goals but Higuain is different,” he maintained. “Pipita plays more for the team. His goals have made us even better and he has a great understanding with everyone.”

One of the reasons for the Napoli attack being different and offering more of a threat this season is that a new tactical identity, a new philosophy has developed. The Partenopei no longer focus on one player bearing the goal-scoring responsibilities. Today the goals come from everywhere and Higuain, with those different gifts Insigne mentions, has helped Napoli become the best attack in Serie A. The Vesuviani’s four-wheel drive of him, Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik and Goran Pandev has steered in a phenomenal 29 in 17 games. A total which is five more than Juve’s and Roma’s top four forwards put together and, even though stats only tell part of the story, is still four more than the whole Milan team in total.

Back to Cavani this time last year he had scored 18 including seven in eight Europa League games, while Higuain and Jose have 23, scoring six between them in six tough Champions League games. As the team’s new point of reference, Pipita’s superlative displays in both the Champions League and Serie A have shown that he is equally efficient on either stage. His nine League goals in 14 starts (16 games) include strikes against Inter, Milan and Lazio, while in the Champions League his strike rate is even more telling with four in five games, plus six assists in both competitions.

In conclusion with the addition of Higuain, Napoli’s new style of attacking involves more choice and is almost the opposite formation of the one Walter Mazzarri employed. The former Napoli boss preferred a system that soaked up the pressure before setting up speedy counterattacks on the break with Cavani up front by himself. Now the pressure is on the opposition from the start from any number of channels.

Make no mistake it was exciting to see Cavani’s devastating runs, but with the front four getting more opportunities it is even more so. The spirit of El Matador that was feared might hang over Napoli has been banished and soon it might even be “Cavani who?”

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Have your say...
both are great players, but for the fool who says Tevez is a clown knowes nothing about football. two league titles in English and 11 goals so far this season whos the clown.
on the 4th January, 2014 at 12:55am
if cavani had the same players to support him in attack as higuan does ,he would score a hatrick every game, so please dont compare higuan to cavani because the whole team of napoli changed
on the 30th December, 2013 at 11:05am
I like Cavani more but Higuain is good too.
on the 28th December, 2013 at 10:16am
Cavani who?

Lol Cavani who has 12 goals already and is not even playing as a striker. Cavani who has adjusted to a role nobody thought he'd adjust to. Cavani who will play a vital role for Uruguay in the the World Cup alongside Suarez. Cavani who is still in the Champions League ;)
on the 28th December, 2013 at 10:13am
Benitez Napoli = Mazzaris Napoli may be accurate but I still prefer Cavani and Lavezzi under Mazzari. If Mazzari and Thoir stay together I think there is a lot of potential there for Inter to be equal with Napoli in a couple of years.
on the 28th December, 2013 at 2:54am
The Cavani deal opened up the doors for Napoli to become a more attacking team, with the goals being shared. Higuain, Calejon, Mertens, Insigne (not even including Hamsik) have turned Napoli to the most exciting team to watch in Seria A. Cavani would score a stack of goals in this team, but Higuain is a different type of striker who equally loves scoring his goals.

For the good of Napoli, Higuain for Cavani is just awesome business!
on the 27th December, 2013 at 11:18pm
They both great,but if u have to choose one of them,u have to think about your way of playing system,im juve fan and i still fear Cavani,he is deadly attacker.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 9:42pm
This was a great pick up for Napoli and Im not even a fan!! i believe he is better for the current setup than Cavani who cannot even get prime minutes as the starter at PSG and hence is looking already at a january move. Argentina will be very dangerous this summer at the WC. If there defense comes together they could be very hard to beat. Strikers and midfield is very strong.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 9:35pm
The money was not spent that well. Albiol is a great move. I've always been a fan and he was the best CB in Spain during his last year at Valencia. He needed a fresh start (wanted to see him go back to Valencia). Mertens is a high quality but not needed. Callejon was a great move. But there is no pure playmaker or a pure DM...leaving Inler too deep and the team with some boring play. Also, it's a waste to waste what Cannavarro has done. Benitez = wrong move.

LOL at the Juve fan hating Tevez.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 5:01pm
I think Cavani is a little bit better (loved him since Palermo) but Higuain is close and of similar level.

Higuain will probably not score as many as Cavani but he's a better pure goalscorer. The difference is that that Napoli team depended on Cavani scoring. And he was great enough to do it. But within a more natural flow of the game, Higuain is a better scorer. He plays the game very organically and is a natural scorer. Cavani is more high energy and his link play was not utilized at Napoli.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 4:56pm
Yes he was a good buy his no way near the same level as Cavani. For me and i think many other napoli fans we still need to sort that defence out its been the weak point of the team for last 2-3 years
on the 27th December, 2013 at 3:37pm
Nobody is saying Higuain is a better player overall than Cavani, what the article is saying is that Higuain was the right person to replace him for this new system under Benitez. Napoli hasn't seen a player even half as good as Maradona again, but that doesn't mean anything. With this team and with the right reinforcements they can win even more than Maradona's team won in 89/90. If you can't see that selling Cavani was the best thing to happen to Napoli then you're wilfully blind.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 2:22pm
Cavani wouldn't fit into Benitez's system. Higuain was the perfect choice. Besides, if Cavani had stayed Napoli wouldn't have had the money to strengthen the squad so much, in fact they would've regressed. Napoli now is a much better team than last year.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 2:17pm
Saying "Cavani Who?" is stupid thing. Just imagine for a second what if Cavani still plays for the more-attacking Napoli of Benetiz ? I bet he would double his goals per year. But I take nothing away from Higuain. He is a world class and I wished Juve brought him instead of the clown Tevez as Gonzalo is more clinical and Juve needed a guy like him.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 1:16pm
With all due respect, this is perhaps the worst love letter I've ever read from a fan! Higuain is a great goal getter, but only a blind fool couldn't see that Cavani is a better player overall. He tracked back, he fought to get the ball, got deadly direct FK's, he runs faster, plus he loves Napoli and it's people. He should've gone to Madrid in a "1 plus cash for 3" deal, but ADL's arrogance and stupidity destroyed his dreams.

Napoli won't see a similar player ever again.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 12:27pm
-nd that is very sad. I may be wrong but I believe it would take a few seasons yet before any Italian team becomes a real force on the peninsula.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 12:20pm
- to both past Juve sides and modern clubs found in other leagues.

Of course there is the argument that Napoli did very well in a Champions League group of death and that is very true. However B. Dortmund's form this year is not the same as last year's (I expect them to be knocked out next round). The victory over Arsenal was impressive even if the Gunners were a bit fatigued due to lack of squad rotation. But when it comes to the real bully boys of Europe, Serie A cannot stand on its feet & -
on the 27th December, 2013 at 12:19pm
People have argued for many years that Serie A is on decline and a "bad" league. Even after calciopoli I disagreed with that assertion and I certainly did not believe the Bundesliga to be better than Serie A. Until now that is. The decline of Milan and Inter is reflective of a weak league. Both Napoli and Roma are good teams however, in light of other teams across the continent, they're nothing special. Even this Juve team that is dominating Serie A is hardly inspiring when you make comparisons to both past Juve sides and modern clubs found in other leagues.

Of course there is the argument that Napoli did very well in a Champions League group of death and that is very true. However B. Dortmund's form this year is not the same as last year's (I expect them to be knocked out next round). The victory over Arsenal was impressive even if the Gunners were a bit fatigued due to lack of squad rotation. But when it comes to the real bully boys of Europe, Serie A cannot stand on its feet and that is very sad. I may be wrong but I believe it would take a few seasons yet before any Italian team becomes a real force on the peninsula.
on the 27th December, 2013 at 12:17pm

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