Lookman vs Osimhen: Capocannoniere contenders headline Atalanta’s tussle with Napoli in Serie A

The Azzurri go to La Dea this weekend set to assert one other high-profile win and the Nigeria internationals should play an enormous half within the final result

It took a hat-trick for Luciano Spalletti to wholly reward Victor Osimhen with none perceived disapproval.

Normally, the Tuscan-born tactician tends to extol the centre-forward while befouling any type of admiration with criticism of what the Tremendous Eagle may have carried out higher.

This was not the case after final week’s hat trick in opposition to Sassuolo, Osimhen’s first since switching from Lille in 2020. The 23-year-old by no means netted a treble in Ligue 1 both, nor did he rating thrice in a single recreation in his unlucky spell within the Bundesliga or in that reassuring time with Belgian outfit Sporting Charleroi in 2018-19.

It has taken the striker 4 seasons and a bit since that encouraging marketing campaign with Charleroi, with two of these campaigns in Serie A, to internet his first hat-trick in European soccer.

Regardless of scoring 56 league targets because the begin of 18-19, final Saturday’s scientific ending nonetheless felt anomalous. Osimhen netted these three targets from as many makes an attempt heading in the right direction and 5 efforts in whole. These carried anticipated targets (xG) of 1.2, demonstrating the Nigerian’s sharpness within the 18-yard field.


For context, the centre-forward hit one among 5 makes an attempt heading in the right direction in spherical one at Hellas Verona, discovered the goal with two of a staggering 10 makes an attempt in Napoli’s demolition of Monza in gameweek two and located the goal with a solitary effort from 5 makes an attempt in a 2-1 win over Lazio in early September.

“Appears to me that he’s making progress, he has a number of margins as a result of his prospects and his flashes aren’t accessible to a traditional participant,” enthused Spalletti after the frontman’s hat trick. “On one purpose he hooked a ball within the field and put the ball within the purpose earlier than the opponent intervened. It was quick and exact.”

These strikes noticed him transfer to the summit of the goalscorers’ standings in eight appearances (seven begins), collectively with Marko Arnautovic who has netted seven occasions in two extra video games for Bologna.

This was maybe sudden after the Nigerian missed over a month of motion earlier than returning in mid-October, and the latest climb within the log signifies no participant will run away with this 12 months’s Capocannoniere.

Victor Osimhen Napoli.Getty.

Saturday’s encounter with Atalanta not solely sees first play second however pits Osimhen with compatriot Ademola Lookman. It’s an added sub-plot to an enchanting encounter between two sides no envisaged observer can be of their present positions a fortnight earlier than the World Cup’s graduation.

Napoli had misplaced Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Kalidou Koulibaly in the summertime, and a interval of transition was anticipated. as for the deaGian Piero Gasperini’s facet have been tipped to face an uphill activity after ending final season outdoors the European positions for the primary time because the 64-year-old’s appointment in the summertime of 2016.

Nevertheless, observers didn’t foresee Min-Jae Kim’s swift adaptation at centre-back or Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s excellent begin to life in Italy’s high flight, whereas the supporting solid of Giovani Simeone and Giacomo Raspadori haven’t solely made up the numbers up entrance to mitigate for any potential Osimhen absence by harm however contributed impressively since August.

Atalanta, for his or her half, have been helped by having per week between video games to arrange, whereas Lookman’s begin to life in Serie A was probably unexpected.

The attacker has netted 5 occasions in eight begins (12 appearances altogether) and is on tempo to surpass final 12 months’s six targets scored on mortgage at Leicester Metropolis—his greatest return in league soccer since turning professional.

Lookman celebration Atalanta Fiorentina Serie AGetty

Lookman taking to Italian soccer like a duck to water is much more spectacular when the mid-August timing of his transfer to Bergamo is taken into account. His swap was introduced in early August — with pre-season winding down — however he was netting a debut purpose for the Bergamaschi 9 days after.

A six-game drought adopted, maybe an upshot of the stop-start nature of his recreation time as he bedded in on the Bortolotti Coaching Heart, getting above 45 minutes in simply two video games throughout that dry spell.

4 targets within the following 5 video games have ensued, with the one clean coming in final month’s 2-0 defeat by Lazio, an final result that compelled Gasperini to confess the dea had not confronted a group on the stage of Maurizio Sarri’s males.

That was Atalanta’s latest recreation on the Gewiss Stadium, and they’re going to look to keep away from back-to-back house defeats in opposition to arguably the perfect facet in Europe in the intervening time.

They responded to that loss in opposition to Lazio with a snug 2-0 win over Empoli final day trip, prompting reward for Lookman regardless of the momentary dispute with Teun Koopmeiners over a first-half penalty.

“Lookman has scored 5 targets and all the time gave a robust contribution to the group. He has approach, tempo, is a participant any coach can be proud of,” Gasperini raved after final weekend’s efficiency. “We realized fairly shortly what he was able to, he was convincing from the beginning.”

Ademola Lookman Atalanta 2022/23.GettyImages.

The Turin-born tactician confessed afterwards to being shocked by the membership’s begin to the marketing campaign and admitted the respect he has for this weekend’s guests shouldn’t be confused with worry.

Success for the Bergamaschi would take them to inside three factors of Spalletti’s crew, who goal a ninth successive win in Serie A to increase their unbeaten begin.

Osimhen would look to proceed the scoring run that has seen him discover the again of the online in three straight home video games as Napoli search one other huge win to observe successes away at Lazio, AC Milan and Roma.

Lookman is unlikely to maintain his run till the season’s denouement however the in-form talisman, whose presence has lessened the influence of Duvan Zapata’s injury-hit begin to 2022-23, may match and even surpass his private greatest league return this weekend.

In a spherical that sees Roma and Lazio face off within the Derby della Capitale and Juventus play host to Inter Milan within the first Derby d’Italia of the marketing campaign, the partenopei‘s go to to Atalanta on Saturday must be the becoming forerunner in a gameweek that sees six of the highest seven do battle.

And it will likely be all shades of enjoyable.

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