Napoli are on track to become the poorest reigning Serie A champions in over 60 years after their 1-1 draw with Genoa.

After Genoa took the lead in the second half, Napoli seemed to be in for their ninth Serie A loss. But the Partenopei were able to pull one back in the dying minutes.

The outcome puts the incumbent Serie A champions in ninth position, further complicating their fight for European qualification.

Genoa seemed to be more dangerous going forward, despite having far more possession. Morten Frendrup scored Rossoblu’s first goal just after halftime, putting them ahead.

Until Ngonge opened his side’s account, Napoli seemed like they would not score despite Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s best attempts. Victor Osimhen was not on the roster because of his late return from the Africa Cup of Nations.

As time expired, the Partenopei pushed forward in an attempt to secure all three points; however, Jesper Lindstrom missed the target with a free kick. Near the end of the game, supporters booed them off the field.

What do Serie A stats say?

Indeed, Walter Mazzari‘s squad is now exhibiting one of the worst performances by defending Serie A winners in records. In the 2023-24 season, they are in ninth place with 24 games played, 27 points behind the league leaders Inter.

While playing in Italy last year, Napoli were unstoppable. It was never a close race, as they triumphed over Lazio to claim the Scudetto by a massive 16-point margin. Despite amassing 90 points last season, the Partenopei find themselves in a precarious situation with only 36 points after 24 matches.

In Serie A history, the defending champion finished 20 points ahead of the league leaders in the following season only five times.

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As a result of the Superga tragedy in the 1949-50 season, Torino fell to a 21-point deficit; Juventus followed in 1961-62, Bologna in 1964-65, Milan in 1996-97, and Milan again in 2022-23, all with a 20-point deficit.

During the three-point era, only Milan accomplished it twice. If the other teams named had been awarded three points for each victory instead of two, Torino would have completed 1949-50 with a 32-point deficit, Juventus with a 38-point deficit in 1961-62, and Bologna with a 31-point deficit in 1964-65.

That puts Napoli in the company of the four poorest reigning Serie A champions in history. They rank bottom among all teams in the league’s last 59 years. Worryingly, if the margin between them and Inter at the top of the league widens considerably more, that record might become even worse.

Mazzarri facing axe?

According to Italian media, Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri faces the sack if his team continues to underwhelm in the Champions League match against Barcelona.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Wednesday’s match between Napoli and Barcelona is Mazzarri’s last opportunity to save his career. If his squad has another bad showing next week against the La Liga heavyweights, they say the 62-year-old will probably lose his job.

Photo: IMAGO / Nicolo Campo

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