Thursday April 18 2019
Arsenal a big chance for Insigne

With Napoli needing their best performance of the season against Arsenal, Massimo Nuzzo believes Lorenzo Insigne can prove himself a big game player.

Lorenzo Insigne had arguably one of his best starts to a season with 10 goals in his first 15 matches in all competitions. His form had many regarding him as one of Serie A’s best players at the time and subject to interest from the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. Napoli fans were ecstatic about their hometown hero’s blisteringly hot start, with many ready to witness what seemed set to be Insigne’s greatest season with the Partenopei to date.

Things took a different turn for Lorenzo ‘Il Magnifico’, though, after the Partenopei’s 1-0 loss to Liverpool in the final round of the Champions League group stages. After that defeat, he went on a seven-game goal drought. Insigne temporarily quelled his doubters with two goals in three matches against Sampdoria and FC Zurich, but a penalty miss in a 2-1 loss to Juventus dealt a huge blow to the confidence of Napoli’s new captain and the team’s supporters.

Will Insigne ever become the big game player everyone knows he is capable of becoming? The answer to this question has been widely debated among Serie A fans, with both sides making valid points in their arguments. Those who believe Insigne is already a big game player cite his performances against Liverpool (home leg of the group stages) and PSG in the Champions League as prime examples of the 27-year-old’s ability to get the job done when it matters most. In past seasons, his performances against the likes of Manchester City and Real Madrid (both of whom he scored against) in the 2016-17 Champions League campaign help Insigne’s case.

However, those who hold the opposing view claim the Neapolitan forward is unable to perform this way consistently. We often see the diminutive winger fizzle out toward the end of a season. Whether it was last year where we saw him directly contribute to only six goals in the last three months, or even now when he seemed a shell of his former self in Napoli’s 2-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates, Insigne’s inability to maintain a consistent level gives merit to the claims that he isn’t a big game player.

The aforementioned losses to Arsenal and Juventus are the most recent examples of big games Insigne has failed to leave his mark on. Additionally, Napoli’s loss against Milan in the Coppa Italia plagues his and his club’s season as well. His penalty miss against Juventus prevented his team from evening things up and, considering their momentum at the time, spurring them on to victory. Against Arsenal, Insigne had what was easily his worst performance of the campaign. Granted, the same can be said about the rest of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but more is expected of their captain and star player.

There is a silver lining to these losses, though. Despite failing to come up big, Insigne always manages to create a moment of magic that gives his side the chance to get back into a match. With Liverpool, his signature ball over to Jose Callejon was sent flying over the goal by the Spaniard. In the first leg of the Arsenal tie, he put the ball in the perfect spot for Piotr Zielinski to earn Napoli an away goal, only for the Polish midfielder to waste the chance.

The second leg of the Europa League quarter-final with Arsenal is where he can prove his doubters wrong and regain the love of the San Paolo faithful. The match is one with major implications, as the Europa League is the Partenopei’s last opportunity at winning their first piece of silverware since December 2014.

Not only is the match a season decider for Napoli, but it could also prove pivotal for Insigne’s legacy and future at the club. Both of which, with a big performance, Lorenzo ‘Il Magnifico’ can keep intact.

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Have your say...
Oh thanks Scarpetta, I get it now. Insinge was made in a lab by the lizard people. Everybody knows but nobody dare speak of it. Thanks for the laugh.
on the 3rd May, 2019 at 5:08pm
Most people here don't get it, they still have not realized that Insigne has been imposed by the Naples Deep State, on all coaches of the last 6 years, only Mazzarri dared put him on the bench and and asked him to shut up. This has been the greatest destabilizing factor for the team. Mertens the best player had to be sacrificed all the time to save the soldier Scugnizz'. I'm glad he's going, but, wherever he goes, he will always be on the bench.
on the 21st April, 2019 at 5:42am
as usual he didn't deliver!
it is very frustrating that all Italian teams went out!
i can't believe team like Slavia could score 3 goals against chelsea away and Napoli can even score 1!
Callejon for sure killed Napoli chances he does not deserve to play!
on the 18th April, 2019 at 10:56pm
Dortmund, City, Real, Liverpool, PSG, Juve (last year), Milan, etc... He's done it before, but he's had stinkers also. His biggest problem is squandering scoring chances. It's a mental issue. If he can fix his mentality issues he can be the world class player that his talent warrants, but time is running out.
Insigne also seems to get picked on by fans from the north when it comes to the Azzurri. No doubt we'll see some of his haters in this forum.
on the 18th April, 2019 at 4:00pm
Insigne needs a big game tonight, not only for the team but for himself. Since the Juve PK miss (he actually played well) he's looked a psychological wreck. His future has been put in doubt. It didn't help that he's was coming off the back of an injury at the Emirates.
With Hamsik gone I think Insigne feels the pressure of the being the leader and talisman. Carlo's tactics have him roaming and perhaps too much time to think. Without Milik there's too much pressure on him to score.
on the 18th April, 2019 at 3:50pm
Napoli should sell Insigne to a foreign club. 80 to 100M is a lot for him.

He has flashes of brilliance but has never been consistent and he is too emotional.

Napoli should make Koulibaly captain.
on the 18th April, 2019 at 12:30pm
He has some talent, no doubt, but he'll need to turn it on tonight, as they all will.

If they keep a clean sheet they have a decent chance of at least extra-time.

If not, this'll be the 4th year without an Italian team in the EL semis, and the 20th season without a winner or even finalist - pretty pathetic.
on the 18th April, 2019 at 9:49am

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