Standings implications: Juventus garnered the final points they needed for the title against Fiorentina. Torino were the only team to succeed in the European races, since Roma shared the spoils with Inter, Milan were pipped at post in Parma and Lazio were stunned by Chievo. Atalanta will play on Monday in Naples. Empoli find themselves in a hole after being torpedoed by SPAL at home and the Estensi have now comfortable lead over the last three places. Udinese tied with Sassuolo, taking a little step forward since they are four points above the Azzurri, but were leapfrogged by Bologna, whic thumped Sampdoria. Cagliari arrived at the 40-point mark with their W over Frosinone, whose relegation is pretty much a done deal. Genoa keep spiraling, but they still have a little cushion before being in serious troubles. Continue reading
SPAL-Juventus: after winning three games in a row, against Roma, Frosinone and Lazio, SPAL were bested by Cagliari, but their recent streak gave them a little breathing room over the last three positions. Juventus toppled Milan last week, winning for the eighth time in the last nine matches and they are one point away from clinching the title. For the Estensi, Andrea Petagna has been a rock all year long, showing to be a much more prolific striker compared to his time at Atalanta. Manuel Lazzari is their main playmaker off the right flank and has picked up eight assists thus far. Jasmin Kurtic is also occasionally able to collect some bonus points, while they have not got much out of the second-striker role, as Mirco Antenucci, Andrea Paloschi and Sergio Floccari have combined for just six goals. Continue reading
One step forward, two steps back. That would be a simple way of reviewing the last few days for Lazio, who secured a massive win away to Champions League rivals Inter on Sunday only to fall to an exasperating defeat at lowly SPAL three days later.
The race for the top four spots is far from over and Simone Inzaghi’s side can still count on having a game in hand to gain ground on their rivals, not to mention an easier run-in, but there was no mistaking what a momentous missed opportunity the game in Ferrara was.
You can’t escape the feeling that Lazio may look back on that performance with regret come the end of the season, but perhaps the most concerning lesson to take from the loss was that Ciro Immobile is still showing no sign of turning around his stuttering form. Continue reading
Juventus-Milan: the Bianconeri are coming off a convincing outing in Cagliari, where they notched their second shutout win in a row and in general their seventh victory in the last eight fixtures. On the other hand, the Rossoneri failed to take home the full loot for three matches in a row as they lost to Inter and Sampdoria and then tied with Udinese. The Old Lady is likely to have back both Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala for this game, while Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to sit one more out. Some players could be spared in the Ajax game, in any case Moise Kean and Federico Bernardeschi are in terrific form and have lead them scoring-wise. Continue reading
Samir Handanovic: the Inter defense has not been super stingy on the road, but this week they will tangle against Genoa that has scored just once in their last five fixtures. The veteran goalkeeper always gives his contribution.
Joao Cancelo: he could have a massive role on offense since Juventus will be down few attackers and they will also need a big performance out of their defense to topple Cagliari. Alex Sandro is in lesser form could be a good selection too.
Rogerio: Sassuolo are not very trustworthy defensively, but the date with Chievo is usually a good medicine for those problems. The young left back has sometimes done damage scurrying down the flank. Continue reading
For even a casual observer of Lazio, it’s been obvious that this season has struggled to live up to the high standards set in 2017/18.
Last term, Simone Inzaghi’s entertainers finished as Serie A’s top-scoring side, raced to the Europa League quarter-finals and were only denied a Champions League place due to the cruel rule of head-to-head record trumping goal difference in the final standings.
Now, with 41 goals in 27 matches, Lazio have the ninth best attack in the league, albeit with a game in hand that could see them draw level with Inter, Milan and Fiorentina above them on 43 goals. Continue reading
With the race for top four intensifying, Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio will have to demonstrate they are serious about their Champions League aspirations.
After the international break, the biancocelesti will travel to the San Siro to take on Inter. Inzaghi’s men currently sit eight points behind third-place Inter, and will need to claim all three points if they want to have a serious shot at qualifying for Europe’s elite competition next season.
Notorious for their strong finishes, Lazio have been in decent form in league play, losing only one of their last six clashes. Their most recent 4-1 thumping of Parma is a good indicator that Lazio are ready to put their past inconsistencies behind them and push on. In addition to dispatching Parma, the biancocelesti also defeated fierce rivals, and fellow top four competitors, Roma comfortably 3-0 just a few weeks back.
While the international break may take some wind out of their sails, they will need to maintain this form against Inter and beat an Icardi-less side. The good news for Lazio, is that their playmaker Luis Alberto, is demonstrating last season’s form, and is consistently pulling the strings between the lines again. Against Parma, the Spaniard was all over the pitch, scoring one goal and registering two assists, in what was arguably his best performance of the season.
After Inter, the capital-based side will also get the opportunity to play the current holders of fourth place, Milan, in mid-April. Much like their clash against Inter, this encounter will have massive implications for Champions League football, and they will need to be up for it. Coming off their first defeat in league play since December, Gattuso’s men will be eager to extend their lead over Lazio. Currently, the rossoneri hold a six-point cushion over Lazio, however, that may be subject to change, considering there are three fixtures before their clash.
With that being said, Milan don’t exactly have it easy prior to their game against Lazio, having to travel to Sampdoria and league leaders Juventus. Regardless, much of their top four fate will depend on their encounter against Lazio.
In the meantime, Inzaghi’s men will have to dispatch SPAL, Udinese and Sassuolo. While on paper Lazio are favourites for the three points, only a fool would take these games for granted. In the past, Lazio have dropped points against the league’s cellar dwellers and mid-table outfits; something that will need to be avoided in the month of April.
Moreover, with both SPAL and Udinese fighting for survival, these clashes will be anything but straightforward. Regardless, much like the teams around them, Lazio have no choice but to claim the three points on all three occasions, otherwise, like last season, they will be on the outside looking in come May.
As the season winds down to a close, it’s now time to separate the pretenders from the contenders. Until now, Lazio have done well to remain with the pack despite their struggles and injury concerns. With clashes against direct competitors on the horizon, the biancocelesti have no choice: Win out, or miss out. At the very least, their fate’s in their own hands.
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Andrei Radu (7 points): there was just one clean sheet in this round and amazingly it was the top scoring offence, Juventus’ one, that got shackled, so the Genoa goalie was the only one to bring home seven points and he did not even had to sweat too much to do it.
Domenico Criscito (5 points): he gets the token spot for the Griffon’s back-line, which featured all the highest earners among defenders, for his diligent work on both phases. He has been a crossing machine after switching to left back. Continue reading
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
Standings implications: Juventus dropped their first game in Genoa, while Napoli tamed Udinese and so the lead yo-yoes back to 15 points. Inter resurrected at the most opportune time and torpedoed Milan in the Derby della Madonnina, reclaiming the third spot. Roma did not take advantage as they had a poor showing in Ferrara. It was a good week for Lazio, as they demolished Parma, while Atalanta got stymied by Chievo and Torino came up empty-handed against Bologna. In the lower districts, mammoth wins for the Felsinei, SPAL and Empoli, who sunk Frosinone in the head-to-head bout. Udinese fell back in the mud, as they are now just two points above the Felsinei. Cagliari kept the opponents at bay with a precious W against Fiorentina.