Serie A Match of the Round – Inter vs Lazio

The midweek round was not particularly electric, so the choice falls on the most anticipated match-up of the slate, which was eventful albeit being low-scoring, also because Atalanta got the nod as best club.

Inter came into the match looking to improve to 5-0 in the season, while Lazio had redeemed themselves for the horrible loss to SPAL with a commanding with over Parma. Antonio Conte rotated the squad and rested some of his key guys like Stefano Sensi and Lautaro Martinez, replaced by Matias Vecino and Matteo Politano, and Cristiano Biraghi drew his first start relieving Kwadwo Asamoah. Continue reading

Unpredictable Bastos provides timely reminder of improvement at Lazio

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The last week has served as a neat summary of the highs and lows of Bastos’ time at Lazio.

Last Wednesday in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, the Angolan was entrusted with a starting spot ahead of the experienced Stefan Radu after playing a key role in the capital club’s cup run.

In the space of 36 minutes, the centre-back was booked for a reckless tackle, enraged the Bergamo club with a potential handball inside the box that was missed by match officials, and was substituted for Radu as coach Simone Inzaghi lost faith in the 28-year-old’s ability to avoid a second yellow card. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Lazio

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Despite failing to earn a shutout win due to a schoolboy error, Lazio had by far the most dominating performance in the round and vanquished Parma with a magnificent first half.

They came into the game looking to redeem themselves after a slightly disappointing tie in Florence, where they could have easily won the game with more precision and more intensity, especially in the second half, while they squashed Roma in the Derby two weeks ago. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Lazio

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An easy choice in this case as far as the team of the round goes since Lazio romped Roma in the much-awaited Derby. The Biancocelesti came into the game looking to avenge their tough loss in the final minutes against Genoa in their last Serie A game two weeks ago, while they could not bend Milan’s defence in Coppa Italia on Tuesday. They did not play last week against Udinese due to a scheduling conflict at the Olimpico Stadium.

Simone Inzaghi could not field Ciro Immobile and Marco Parolo from the get-go due to last minute ailments, but was otherwise able to marshal all his other stars, including Luis Alberto. Continue reading

Serie A Game of the Week – Round 36: Lazio vs Atalanta

 

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The most exhilarating game of the weekend was probably the back and forth between Genoa and Fiorentina, but since it was already thoroughly broken down by Chloe here, let’s dive into another pretty amusing one: Lazio-Atalanta, which was also one of the few fixtures where there was something at stake for both teams.

The two clubs arrived at this game in high spirits, riding three-game winning streaks. Simone Inzaghi had the task of replacing his injured star Ciro Immobile and picked the easiest fix, the backup Felipe Caicedo. After some gamesmanship in the pre-game presser, Gian Piero Gasperini fielded both Remo Freuler and Bryan Cristante, kept Josip Ilicic on the bench and chose José-Luis Palomino for the suspended Mattia Caldara.  Continue reading

Lazio’s missed moves showed at an inopportune time

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On Wednesday, Lazio were playing a brilliant game against the Scudetto candidate Napoli: they were more than holding their own against Serie A’s most prolific attack and they had found the first goal thanks to Stefan De Vrij. Biancocelesti are no strangers to strong performances against the top teams, as they showed in the Supercoppa against Juventus.

However, at half time, the Dutch centre-back left the game because of a hamstring problem that already affected him in the previous fixture. They had already lost Bastos after 25 minutes because of a muscular issue. With only one pure centre-back available, Stefan Radu, Simone Inzaghi deployed Lucas Leiva and Dusan Basta in the three-man defence, but Napoli took immediately advantage and feasted on the weakened line, scoring three goals in five minutes. To make things worse, Basta was later forced out of the game with an injury as well and a penalty by Jorginho rounded up the score to the final 1-4.

Losing three defenders in the same night is obviously an extremely unlucky situation and Wallace was already on the shelf with a soft tissue ailment. However, it showed a fundamental issue of their roster: in the summer, they sold Wesley Hoedt to Southampton for €17M, but never replaced him, hoping that four pure centre-backs would be enough to cope with the busy schedules. They simply kept the Brazilian youngster Luiz Felipe on the roster as an emergency option, but he barely played last season at Salernitana in Serie B in his first year in Italy. They long courted Milan’s Gabriel Paletta and other defenders, but they were unable to find a deal they were satisfied with. The president Claudio Lotito is well-known for his stinginess and for being a tough negotiator, but they could end up paying the price for the lack of signings.

De Vrij avoided major injuries and will likely miss only a couple of games, while Wallace, Bastos and Basta will be out for a month or even more. The Serbian right back will be replaced by newcomer Adam Marusic and Patric, who can adequately cover the whole flank, but neither has Basta’s ability and experience as right centre-back. Lucas Leiva was horrendous in De Vrij’s spot, but right now he is their only option there: the coach will have to scramble to come up with an adequate XI. They will face Hellas Verona and Sassuolo before the break.

The readymade solution would be to re-integrate Mauricio, who was not in the initial 25-man squad for Serie A and has been training along the other excluded players like Federico Marchetti and Brayan Perea, but can be inserted replacing somebody else, likely the youngster Luca Crecco. They had every intention of selling the Brazilian defender this summer after a loan spell at Spartak Moscow, but they could not find a buyer. His stint at Lazio has been disappointing, riddled with blunders and injuries. The alternatives in the free agent market, such as Reto Ziegler, Sebastien Bassong, Joleon Lescott, Modibo Diakitè and Chico are not particularly appealing and especially they would all require some time to be up to speed conditioning-wise. Inzaghi might be soon forced to ditch the three-man defence that have given them great success: they do not have the horses to pull off a convincing 4-3-3 yet, but Luis Nani is now healthy and Felipe Anderson has resumed practicing with the rest of the group.

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