For ninety-five minutes against AC Milan, Victor Osimhen fought for every ball, raised his hands in the air endlessly, ran the channels like his old Lagos backyard but never found the net.
It was a typical struggle on a night Napoli fans went home desolate, angry, but saw what the problem of the team has grown to be.
On social media, there were hundreds of comments about how Lorenzo Insigne and Matteo Politano chose to play. On many occasions when the Super Eagles attacker found himself in positions dangerous enough to wreak havoc on the Milan defence, his wingmen chose to go for glory.
Osimhen cut a frustrated figure, fought all through the game against the defensive pairing of Pierre Kalulu and Fikayo Tomori. He was often isolated on the night, left to hustle and bustle on his own and work something near magic for his teammates. This season, he’s scored 11 times in all competitions and won six penalties, one of the highest in Europe’s top 5 leagues. The night didn’t bring the abundance often seen of Napoli when he plays, and it showed why they may come short at the end.
Every respectable opinion that came after that game pointed to Osimhen’s industry and blamed Politano and Insigne for being less altruistic.
Altruism- a great footballing instinct that’s not always for an attacker is a feature Osimhen must cut. He needs to be more selfish if he will live up to the mark the world has placed on him.
Former Napoli attacker Andrea Carnevale said that Osimhen, he thinks is phenomenal but if he stays more selfish, there’s an incredible career ahead of him.
The Nigerian has his weaknesses, and plays too deep at times to be found where he’s needed. However, that he’s ignored when he finds himself at the spot is also a regular showing by Politano and Insigne.
Against Milan, it took Senegal defender, Kalidou Koulibaly a moment of bravery and gusto to work out a decent opportunity for him. While the attacker missed on that occasion, it was one of the closest he came to closest to scoring on the night.
The second time he forced a save from Mike Maignan in the Milan goal, he worked his way ruggedly through a disciplined defence but found himself in an angle too tight to beat the Frenchman. Napoli manager, Luciano Spalletti responded by hurling Insigne and Politano off but the damage had been done.
Italian daily, Corriere del Mezzogiorno captured Osimhen’s situation aptly in a report when it said; “Victor often finds himself fighting alone with two opposing defenders, his progressions in the open field represent much more interesting solutions if his teammates accompany him at the right times,”
Legendary Italian manager, Arigo Sacchi blamed Insigne and Politano for their displays, features that’s now typical of the Canada-bound Napoli captain and his compatriot. While this claim may seem a little extraneous, live pictures back them in moments.
“The rather disappointing performances of the two external players, Insigne and Politano, influenced the development of Milan’s maneuver,” Sacchi said.
”And Zielinski also did little. It should be added, however, that Milan defended almost perfectly. An excellent screen for the midfielders, so that the defenders could face their opponents with greater tranquility. The solution of Napoli, in the end, has almost always been the passage, short or long, to Osimhen who has a lot of courage, is fast, technically very good, but cannot solve everything alone.”
Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. – Alexander The Great
Osimhen has goals in his kitty, and his blood still boils to perform. His transfer fee and expectations pop up with the constant pressure of having a point to prove but with a cast choosing to go through him and not to him, this may come difficult. Napoli, more than ever have a real chance at the Scudetto and their star attacker must devise a means to give more.
To hurl and harry is not enough, Osimhen needs to hit and learn to do it with less dependence on the cast behind him.
Does Osimhen Need To Reduce His Running?
Former Italy and Chievo striker, Sergio Pellisier said that Osimhen must learn to save energy to become more dangerous.
His claim was based on his endless running against Milan and in other games where he sprints all game but doesn’t get on the scoresheet enough.
According to Pellisier, only a few attackers are built to run and hit. One of those he mentioned is former Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, a man many have compared Osimhen to in the past.
Pellisier made intelligent points and a strong observation but Osimhen’s greatest strengths is his stride. A player who’s still learning the art of positioning and selecting good body and shot angles may need to run more to be more involved but if the former Lille attacker will score more, he may need to save half his energy to do the final damage.
The problem therein, however is, he may never be found by a cast built to support him but hardly truly finding a way to him. Osimhen’s struggles under Gennaro Gattuso are the same under Spalletti. More than the manager, it’s about the players responsible to help him improve.