Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 5

Brescia-Juventus: two questions loom large on the game, one for each side. Mario Balotelli is eligible to return after the suspension, but his conditioning might be a problem after skipping the summer preparation, so he might be initially be kept on the bench. Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out due to muscle fatigue and it is new situation under Maurizio Sarri; they also do not have Douglas Costa, so they lack a pure left-wing player. Federico Bernardeschi could certainly be adapted there, but he has struggled so far, so the coach might try new solutions, like for instance fielding Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together. Whoever ends up starting up front will have to shoulder a bigger load sans Ronaldo. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Three

Fiorentina-Juventus: despite the two tough losses, la Viola showed some intriguing stuff up front against both Napoli and Genoa. The potential is there, but the whole team needs to tighten up and build up some chemistry. Franck Ribery is primed to get more minutes after the break and they should finally counter-balance a line-up that is always too reliant on Federico Chiesa. The ones that will benefit the most are the centre-forwards and for the time being Kevin-Prince Boateng will likely be the top option until Dusan Vlahovic and Pedro find their footing. Gaetano Castrovilli has already shown that he can be dangerous with his cuts, while Erick Pulgar hit the net twice on penalties and will have more opportunities to put his shooting prowess to good use in a slightly modified role. Continue reading

They say form goes out the window at the Rome Derby – and recent history backs up the cliché

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We’re not used to this. The Derby della Capitale, Italy’s most ferocious rivalry, is just two days away . And we’re still in August.

This is the fixture that can define a season for Lazio and Roma, the game that fans traditionally spend months mentally preparing for at the dawn of a new season.

Not this time, as Lega Serie A decided to shake things up by scheduling the capital clash in the second week of the season, the first time it will ever take place so early.

Given the timing of the game, all the hard evidence we have to go on so far is the opening weekend of fixtures, which ended in contrasting emotions for the two clubs. Continue reading

Serie A Club of the Round – Lazio

Lazio manhandled Sampdoria on the road on Sunday night and were this week’s best team with only Inter measuring up to them, but in an easier match-up and at home. Simone Inzaghi arrayed his best men in the same way he finished last season, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto as box-to-box and Joaquin Correa slightly behind Ciro Immobile up front. Manuel Lazzari made his debut on the right wing despite the recent hand fracture, while Marco Parolo filled in as pivot for the banged-up Lucas Leiva. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round 1

Atalanta: Josip Ilicic is a suspended, while Luis Muriel is sick, which will cost him a place in the XI but not the call-upTimothy Castagne had surgery to remove a torn meniscus and should miss the first two games.

Bologna: Jerdy Schouten picked up a knee sprain in the pre-season but he has recovered enough to be called up. 

Brescia: Mario Balotelli is disqualified for the first four fixtures, while Ales Mateju will sit out just the first one for the same reason. Emmanuel Ndoj is dealing with an ankle injury that will cost him some time. Andrea Cistana missed the recent Coppa Italia game for a similar, but smaller, issue, but could be back for the opening match. Daniele Dessena, Daniele Gastaldello have recovered from small injuries, while Giangiacomo Magnani and Ernero Torregrossa have been ruled out.  Continue reading

Lazio’s quest for Champions League football has been long and painful – but this could be their time

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Ahead of the opening weekend of the Serie A season, there is no doubt about Lazio’s objective.

Champions League football has proven infuriatingly elusive for the Roman club since they last graced the competition in 2007/08, as they’ve found just about every imaginable way of not quite getting there.

In 2010/11 they finished fifth, losing out on a play-off place to Udinese on goal difference. Continue reading

Lazio’s investment in two of Europe’s top crossers solves a major headache for Simone Inzaghi

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It’s been quite the summer of spending in Serie A, with many of the league’s big guns splashing out large sums to overhaul their squads ahead of the 2019/20 season.

That has never been Lazio’s style during Claudio Lotito’s presidency and although a reasonable amount of money has been invested in the market this summer, it has been put towards just three players: Denis Vavro, Jony and Manuel Lazzari.

The capital club’s dealings have been an example of intelligently conducted business in a market that so often leans more towards emotion and desperation than prudence and planning. Continue reading

Serie A Weekly Transfer Market Recap

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Another interesting transfer market week is in the books: Roma was the most active among the top teams, both acquiring and selling players. After three solid seasons, Stephan El Shaarawy was lured away by Chinese money, while Pau Lopez from Real Betis is their new starting goalkeeper. They let go two fringe players: Gerson joined Flamengo after the up-and-down loan spell to Fiorentina, while Ivan Marcano returned to Porto after failing to make an impression last season. After much wait, Inter finally concluded the negotiation to sign Nicolò Barella from Cagliari, while Milan announced Rade KrunicContinue reading

Lazio sign Manuel Lazzari from SPAL

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Lazio have plucked one of the best players out of the minnows: Manuel Lazzari from SPAL. In his first two seasons in Serie A, the 25-year-old Italian wing back has been a force to be reckoned with on the right flank, serving as his team’s main playmaker, notching nine assists and scoring two times in 69 matches. On top of paying around €10 Alessandro Murgia returned to the Estensi as part of the deal.

He has been in Ferrara since 2012, when the team was called Giacomense and was playing in the fourth league. He was a big part of their rise up to Serie A, amassing 182 appearances in six seasons and posting 23 assists. He has also one cap with Italy. Continue reading

Three Players Lazio Are Set to Target

After yet another indifferent season in the nation’s capital, Lazio are now turning to the transfer window to bolster their roster. Following Simone Inzaghi’s contract extension, Lazio president Claudio Lotito is ready to reward his loyalty with a few signings. Over the past few days, a number of names have been linked with the biancocelesti. This season, their squad lacked depth, and inevitably cost them top four; a prospect Lotito and co. are looking to avoid next season.

1) Wesley Moraes – Club Brugge

Lazio have been linked with the Brazilian for the last couple of transfer windows, and seem to be closing in on him this coming summer. In recent times, Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Lazio have offered Club Brugge 15 million euros plus an additional 5 million in bonuses. Barring any hitches, the deal should be closed shortly.

The target man would provide some much needed depth to Lazio’s front-line, and could act as the perfect foil to Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo. At times this season, the Italian international was tasked with leading the line on his own, and could use the rest. Moraes is capable of holding up play as a target man or take on his defender.

Give his physical stature, Wesley will slot in wonderfully into the Italian game, and he’ll be able to impose himself on his new surroundings.

2) Manuel Lazzari – SPAL

The SPAL wingback had a phenomenal season with the Ferrara-based club, and is now attracting interest from Italy’s bigger clubs. In 33 appearances this season, Lazzari registered eight assists, and was a true force down the right, earning his first call-up to the senior national team.

This season, Lazio desperately needed depth at the wingback position, and generally deployed Adam Marusic down the right. However, after a bright debut season, the 25-year-old slowed down, and much like Immobile, needed rest. In his 40 appearances in all competitions, the Montenegrin scored three goals and added one assist; a far cry from his first season with Lazio.

Signing Lazzari would go a long way as it would not only offer some much needed fresh legs, but would also encourage competition.

3) Daniele Baselli – Torino 

Another player that has recently been linked to a move to Lazio is Torino’s Daniele Baselli. Since joining I Granata, Baselli’s game has stagnated, and he arguably needs a move away to further his development. Before joining Torino, Baselli was one of Italy’s most highly-rated youngsters, due to his impressive technique and wide range of passing.

While Lazio’s midfield ranks are deep enough for the time being, Marco Parolo, Lucas Leiva and Milan Badelj aren’t getting any younger, and could use some refreshing. Moreover, Baselli has a different skill-set to Inzaghi’s current midfielders, and could offer some much needed invention from the middle of the park.

His five goals in all competitions demonstrate that the talent’s there for Baselli, but he may need a change of scenery to continue his progression. Inzaghi might just prove to be the right manager for the 27-year-old, as he has a positive track record with players ready to take the next step.

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