Five New Year’s resolutions for Lazio in 2019

Lazio v Salzburg - UEFA Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Stadio Olimpico

Lazio enter the new year with a spring in their step, having rediscovered a winning formula and returned to the top four in time for bells.

But before they return to competitive action with the visit of Novara in the Coppa Italia on Saturday, here are some suggested resolutions that would make the year ahead a memorable one for Simone Inzaghi and his players.

Reach the Champions League

The undisputed No.1 target for the club is to achieve the goal that so agonisingly eluded them on the final day of the 2017/18 season: qualify for the Champions League. It has been 11 years now since the club’s fans have been able to hear the famous anthem ring around the Stadio Olimpico in the group stage, with some near misses coming in the interim period. Continue reading

Lazio must make Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta their January priority

Chelsea v Derby County - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

With the distraction of actual football matches put on hold for two weeks, fans have been left to try and negotiate the maze of transfer speculation that appears without fail at this time of the year.

This can be more of a challenge than it may appear, with scatter-gun reports linking a range of players – young and old, good and bad, from strikers to goalkeepers – to clubs daily.

For Lazio, however, the objective of 2019’s January transfer window is clear: ditch some of the deadwood and fortify the right flank. Continue reading

Luis Alberto opens magic box to spark Lazio recovery

Italy: SS Lazio v Cagliari - Serie A

What a difference a week makes.

Seven short days ago, Lazio were limping towards Christmas on a seven-match winless run, the worst of Simone Inzaghi’s spell as coach, with frustration growing in the stands and key players misfiring on the pitch.

The Roman club’s inventive Spanish midfielder Luis Alberto came in for more criticism than most, having lit up Serie A with a string of superb, game-changing performances that lived up to his nickname ‘Il Mago’ (‘The Magician’) last season, before struggling to deliver a fraction of the same impact once the current campaign kicked off.

Alberto was almost a walking embodiment of Lazio’s season so far; a second-hand version of last year’s model. Continue reading

Inzaghi’s Christmas tree could be key to lifting Lazio’s festive spirits

Italy: SS Lazio V Olympique De Marseille: UEFA Europa League Group H

Simone Inzaghi has certainly got a sense of timing.

The Lazio coach has had a tough month, leading his players through the worst period of form he has overseen during his two-and-a-half-year spell in charge; four draws and three defeats in their last seven games.

The slump has soured the mood in the capital at a time of year that should be filled with festive cheer, but Inzaghi’s decision to finally tinker with a new formation may have come at the perfect moment.

In training this week, a 4-3-2-1 ‘Christmas Tree’ system has been trialled, quite fitting with 25 December so close at hand.

Continue reading

Struggling Lazio must channel Francesco Acerbi’s warrior spirit

Lazio v SPAL Serie A 4/11/2018.

Francesco Acerbi is a man on a mission.

The centre-back is the dictionary definition of an ever-present, a player with a warrior spirit who refuses to yield an inch of grass on the pitch – or a single minute of game time.

The 30-year-old had a seemingly tough task ahead of him when he arrived at Lazio from Sassuolo in the summer as the chosen successor to Stefan De Vrij, one of the greatest defenders to have pulled on a sky-blue shirt in at least a decade.

Within a matter of weeks, the Dutchman was a distant memory.

Perhaps the greatest compliment Acerbi can be paid for his adaptation to life at one of Continue reading

Lazio stand united as season teeters on knife-edge

Lazio Chievo

The message was clear – this is not a punishment, but a moment to address the elephant in the room.

Lazio’s failure to beat rock-bottom Chievo last weekend, a game that they needed to come from behind to take a point from, sparked an inevitable wave of criticism and pushed the club hierarchy into calling the first ‘ritiro’ of Simone Inzaghi’s reign.

It was the capital club’s third league draw in a row, with a dismal Europa League defeat to Apollon Limassol coming between those results, and came at a cost as Milan leapfrogged the Biancocelesti into the fourth and final Champions League spot they are so desperate to make their own. Continue reading

Champions League on the line for Lazio in season-defining December

Lazio 1-1 Milan

Thursday night’s Europa League defeat to Apollon Limassol won’t live long in the memory of Lazio fans.

The team that stepped out onto the waterlogged pitch of a deserted stadium in Cyprus wasn’t a familiar one, as Simone Inzaghi made 10 changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Milan the previous weekend.

A performance devoid of any urgency, spirit or fight followed as the Biancocelesti B-team fell to a 2-0 loss. However, the match did serve an important purpose.

Lazio were already guaranteed a place in the Europa League knockout stages, but Thursday’s setback meant they have to settle for second place in their group and, potentially, a trickier last 32 draw. Continue reading

Allegri’s presser ahead of Juventus-SPAL

allegri

Coach Massimiliano Allegri previewed tomorrow’s clash with SPAL earlier today and begun by addressing the Balloon d’Or rumours: “I do not know anything about that. Cristiano Ronaldo is practicing well and would deserve it for what he has done.”

On Paulo Dybala scoring with Argentina: “It is a nice step for him. He is constantly improving, he started off very well this year, both physically and mentally. He has to keep it going, but that also depends on his desire. He is at his best when he plays almost as midfield, between the lines, knitting the maneuver. He tracks back to help his teammates and then feeds Mario Mandzukic and Ronaldo, who work less in the build-up.” Continue reading

Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic can show why he’s a €120m man against Milan

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

As Black Friday fever sweeps the continent and consumers furiously scramble for the best discounts, football clubs across Europe are also beginning to eye up deals with the January transfer market close at hand.

Only three months have passed since the summer business was completed, but in that time one player has notably featured less and less in the Italian gossip columns: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

During the summer, the Lazio midfielder was the €120m man, one of the most sought-after properties on the market and a rumoured target for just about every big club going: Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, you name it. Continue reading

Dybala talks Higuain, Ronaldo and Mourinho

dybala

Paulo Dybala talked to Sky today ahead of the Milan clash: “I think both teams arrive at it well, since they are doing fine in their competitions. It will certainly be a great game like every previous editions and we obviously hope to bring home the three points.”

On Gonzalo Higuain: “We talked a couple of days ago and it is certainly a weird feeling. I had already faced him before and then we teamed up, winning some trophies together. It will be odd, but obviously everybody will give his best for his team. I did not ask him about his injury. Douglas Costa and I sent him a video and we are waiting for his answer.” Continue reading