Osimhen: Stats reveal Napoli forward will relish facing Atalanta

Victor Osimhen is touch-and-go for Napoli's clash with Atalanta on Saturday (Napoli)


Victor Osimhen has trained individually and with the group this week (Napoli)

Osimhen: Stats reveal Napoli forward will relish facing Atalanta

Seye Omidiora 21:20 - 28.03.2024

While the striker’s participation against La Dea remains up in the air, the numbers show that Napoli’s No. 9 will be desperate to play in some capacity on Saturday.

Victor Osimhen has been in and out of group Napoli training since withdrawing from international duty with Nigeria.  

Victor Osimhen’s injury

The Africa Cup of Nations runner-up was included in the Super Eagles squad for friendly games against Ghana and Mali, but ultimately played no part in both games because of a muscle issue picked up in his club’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Barcelona. 

Despite being named on the bench in Napoli’s next Serie A match against Inter Milan, Francesco Calzona disclosed pre-match that the Nigeria international would only be played if necessary. Without Osimhen, the Partenopei secured a commendable 1-1 draw at San Siro that ended Napoli’s five-game losing run away at the Nerazzurri, even if the game was marred by unsavoury racism allegations directed at Francesco Acerbi by Juan Jesus.

With several teammates away with their nations during the hiatus, the club communicated that Osimhen trained individually and joined the group, pointing to participation against Atalanta on Saturday. However, the club’s supporters will manage expectations, as this seemed to be the case before their visit to Inter a fortnight back

Victor Osimhen
Napoli striker Victor Osimhen (Imago)

Despite being touch-and-go for Saturday’s match with Atalanta at the Maradona, statistics have highlighted why Osimhen featuring bodes well for him and Napoli in gameweek 30. 

Victor Osimhen stats vs Atalanta

The striker notched the first of 61 Serie A goals against La Dea in a 4-1 victory over the Bergamaschi at the Maradona in October 2020, firing a low strike into the bottom-left corner from just outside the box. 

The striker missed both league meetings against Gian Piero Gasperini's men the following season — because of injury and suspension — but has since been a thorn in Atalanta's side, racking up four goal involvements leading to goals in three games. It has taken Osimhen to five direct contributions preceding goals in as many Serie A appearances against La Dea, scoring twice and setting up three.

Interestingly, Osimhen’s three assists against this weekend’s opponents are his most against a single side in Italy’s top division, including one in the reverse fixture at the Gewiss Stadium this season for the winning goal.

Strikingly, the match marked the Nigerian’s return from a hamstring injury, albeit a more severe one, and the club's supporters hope for a similar impact from their leading marksman in Naples this weekend.  

Napoli and Atalanta tussle for continental qualification

Despite playing a game more, success for Calzona's men takes them into sixth in the table, a point ahead of Gasperini's team in the race for the continental slots in Serie A.

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The coveted Champions League spots appear out of reach for both clubs, even if Italy could still get an additional slot dependent on Italian clubs’ performance across this season's UEFA club competitions.

Roma occupy fifth in Serie A, four points clear of Atalanta and six ahead of Napoli, heading into gameweek 30's action this weekend.