Lazio’s Lulic succession plan could finally be solved by Fares

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The international break can often be a time of rest and recuperation for Serie A clubs. Not for Lazio.

Outside the gates of Formello, the investigation into the club’s handling of its Covid-19 testing continues to attract endless debate and speculation.

Inside, Luis Alberto’s public complaints about the club buying an aeroplane while not fully paying their players angered staff and fans alike.

On the pitch, Ciro Immobile finally returned to availability after eventually testing negative for the coronavirus, but the celebratory mood was soon dampened when the Serbian FA announced that Sergej Milinkovic-Savic picked up the virus on international duty. Continue reading

How stoppage-time killer Caicedo has made Lazio comeback kings of Europe

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The finale of Lazio’s Serie A clash with Juventus last weekend was about as Hollywood as football gets. 

With the Roman club trailing 1-0 and a matter of seconds left on the clock, coach Simone Inzaghi grabbed Adam Marusic to turn him upfield, just as the wing-back was about to send a throw-in into his own half that would’ve ended the game.

The throw reached Joaquin Correa, who danced his way through two Juve defenders, dribbled past another and found Felipe Caicedo with a short pass.

From that moment, there was no doubt what would happen next; the Ecuadorian, with his back to goal, swivelled and curled a low shot into the bottom corner with the last kick of the game. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Seven – Top Matches

SASSUOLO-UDINESE

Sassuolo: the Neroverdi were missing their top three players against Napoli, but they won anyway thanks a brand-new scheme by Roberto De Zerbi, who, for once, opted for caution and a three-man back-line and got rewarded with their talented central midfielders stepping up. Filip Djuricic has COVID and will not return here, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo have been called up, but they might be limited, so it is possible Giacomo Raspadori stays initially in a big role and Gregoire Defrel gets the nod. Both the Frenchman and Jeremie Boga have not looked great as they work their way into shape, while Hamed Traore is generally pretty lively. Even if at less than 100 percent, Caputo and Betardi are always good choices, while Lopez would be an outstanding one if used as no.10 to substitute Djuricic. Continue reading

Introducing Lazio’s unlikely Champions League hero: Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro

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When Lazio’s third goal hit the net against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night to cap a superb return to the Champions League, the fans’ elation was mixed with surprise.

Who would have possibly predicted that the decisive goal of the Biancocelesti’s first group stage match in 13 years would be scored by Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro?

The midfielder himself appeared as stunned as anyone by how events unfolded.

“When I signed for Lazio I didn’t think that I would play straight away, I’d like to thank the coach for this,” he said after the game.

He wasn’t the only one. Akpa Akpro’s arrival from Serie B side Salernitana over the summer fell under the radar, with most fan and media attention understandably being directed towards €20m man Vedat Muriqi, a botched move for David Silva and the failure to upgrade the defence. Continue reading

Warrior Muriqi ready for battle – but he’s not the Lazio Ibrahimovic

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Out of crisis comes opportunity, so they say. If that’s true, there will be plenty of chances going at Lazio this season.

With just three weeks of the season played, Luiz Felipe, Denis Vavro, Stefan Radu, Bastos, Adam Marusic and Senad Lulic have all suffered injuries, squeezing the Biancocelesti’s limited defensive resources to the limit.

There was hope that the international break would provide a timely healing window, but instead Lazio head back into Serie A action more depleted than ever, with Manuel Lazzari, Gonzalo Escalante and Felipe Caicedo joining the ranks of walking wounded ahead of the trip to Sampdoria. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Four – Top Matches

NAPOLI-ATALANTA

Napoli: they did not get to play the third game because of well-known reasons, but the first two were pretty indicative. Victor Osimhen has yet to score, but he has had a major impact anyway and he is bound to break through soon. In the meantime, Dries Mertens has led the charge (two goals, two assists), helped by the resurgent Hirving Lozano, who has kept up the momentum from the restart. The injury to Lorenzo Insigne and Piotr Zielinski and Elijf Elmas getting COVID might slow down the deployment 4-2-3-1 in full force, but that should be the way forward and the arrival of Tiemoué Bakayoko cements it. The absences could give Matteo Politano and/or Stanislav Lobotka a bigger role than usual and the former scored in the Genoa romp. If Atalanta do not adjust the way they defend, they could make some sweet music on counters.

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Success or failure? Lazio’s transfer business reviewed

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“False promises and mediocrity. The transfer market is the usual mess.”

The ‘Lazio Ultras’ group made their feelings quite clear when they hung a banner with these words over a motorway bridge in September.

It reflected a general frustration among the capital club’s fans about a summer transfer window that had promised much but delivered little.

Things did get a little better when three more players arrived before the deadline, but it still did little to convince many fans that Lazio’s issues have been resolved.

FALSE DAWNS AND GAPING HOLES Continue reading

Points dropped for Inter after fiery 1-1 draw with Lazio

Inter managed to draw 1-1 away to Lazio which on the face of it would have been seen as a decent point away from home. However there would also be a tinge of disappointment at the result given that Inter had taken the lead in the game.

Man of the moment Lautaro Martinez opened the scoring after being set up by an Ivan Perisic shot that deflected and it was Martinez’s 3rd goal in as many games for the Nerazzurri. It was a good week for Inter given that Barcelona were hot on the trail for Martinez’s signature before the transfer window closed, but Inter have managed to keep the brilliant 23 year old striker.

Lazio would hit back through Sergej Miliinkovic-Savic’s strike ten minutes into the second half and the game would remain 1-1, but there was still incident. Ciro Immobile who finished last season as the top goalscorer in Serie A was sent off in the 70th minute after clashing with Inter new signing Arturo Vidal and for the last 20 minutes the ascendancy was with Inter but Antonio Conte’s team could not find a way through. And then with just three minutes left Inter were left with 10 men when Stefano Sensi was also sent off. In fairness a rather enjoyable game of football was spoilt by a 2nd half that felt staggered and petered out as both teams were constantly in dispute of the sending offs.

The result leaves Inter in 4th place with 7 points and they are just two behind current league leaders Atalanta. Whilst Inter lost their 100% record they are still unbeaten and have scored 10 goals and conceded 6.

There was good news for Inter’s Stefan De Vrij who received an award for the best defender in the league last season, De Vrij said: “The championship organiser decides based on how you play during the season, it’s a great honour. It’s a confirmation of the level I reached in Italy last year. I did everything my way and that’s what gives me even more pride.”

As for the players that stood out for Inter at the weekend and earned the most fantasy points Lautaro Martinez leads the way as the striker earned 8 pts, he now has a total of 12 and that’s the most of any Inter player so far. Romelu Lukaku earned 7pts and midfielder Roberto Gagliardini earned 6pts.

Inter’s next game is not until after the international break on October 17th but you will be wanting to mark it in your diaries as it is the one and only derby match with AC Milan. Given how Milan have improved over the last six months this should be a game to remember.

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Inter drop points as clean sheet eludes Conte’s side again

Internazionale were pegged back to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday as both sides were reduced to 10 men.

In a first half of few chances, Lautaro Martinez gave Antonio Conte’s side the lead on half hour with his low finish squeezing beneath Thomas Strakosha.

These two sides had the best defensive records in Serie A last term and didn’t give each other much room in front of goal in the first half. However, Romelu Lukaku spurned a decent chance shortly after half-time as he fired wide of the post from 18 yards after strike partner Martinez had played him in.

Inter were made to pay as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic beat Ivan Perisic at the back post to head home a cross from deep to make it 1-1. Conte’s side have now shipped six goals in their opening three games this season, though this is the first time they have dropped points.

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Lazio reinforcements finally arrive to inject much-needed impetus

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At times on Wednesday evening, it was hard not to feel like you were experiencing extreme déjà vu.

Atalanta raced to a 3-0 halt time lead against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico, only for the determined hosts to pull one back and spark hopes of an unlikely comeback.

Is this ringing a bell? That will be because Lazio recovered from three goals down to draw 3-3 in this fixture last season – but there were no heroics this time, as Atalanta struck a fourth to come away with a comfortable win.

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