Sitting here writing my review on Sundays lacklustre performance against Spal, I will try not to vent too much… Firstly, credit where it is due, the side from Ferrara smelt blood and secured their first three points of the campaign, something which will certainly help to improve the teams confidence ahead of their trip to Sassuolo. Lazio on the other hand will more than likely end up sitting in 9th place come the end of game week three with one win, one draw and a loss to their name. Le Aquile had lost here last season and had to use this game to pick themselves up from the unlucky 1-1 draw with rivals Roma, having rattled the woodwork four times in one game.
Looking at the starting eleven deployed by Simone Inzaghi, the Italian rested both Joaquin Correa and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic ahead of the UEFA Europa League match midweek. This is a move that a lot of managers play, one which I never understand. In my opinion a manager should always look to play his strongest side, ensure the result is secured and then take off his big guns. Especially considering the timing of this fixture (as some of the players have just returned from the International break) and history, showing that teams often drop points in this type of game.
Lazio’s bad luck with the frame of the goal continued because after just 11 minutes, Felipe Caicedo’s low drive had bounced off the base of the far post, which got me thinking:“here we go again.” However, VAR then came to Lazio’s rescue – Nenad Tomovic had handled the ball in the penalty area. Ciro Immobile scoring from the spot past Etrit Berisha to give Lazio the lead, grabbing his third goal of the season.
Unfortunately, there was not much more to write about from a Lazio perspective, when the whistle blew for the half my thoughts were that Inzaghi would fire up his players, demanding that they move the ball faster to aid the penetration of the Spal defensive unit. If anything it was quite the opposite. Lazio looked lost and Spal with every minute that passed looked like they were gaining confidence. Spal equalised in the 63rd minute with a well-taken Andrea Petagna volley, the Italian picking up where he left off last season scoring against the Biancocelesti. Then, the turnaround was complete in stoppage time, as the Lazio defence stood static to allow Gabriel Strefezza’s shot to be charged down and Jasimin Kurtic to fire in the rebound relatively undisturbed.
For me, Luis Alberto was the best player on the pitch for Lazio. The Spaniard had the highest pass conversion record at 91%, completing four shots at goal (2 on target) and completed 3 key passes.
Pictured above is the heat map of Lazio’s three midfielders against Roma in Matchday 2 of the Serie A. This was easily Lazio’s best performance of the season to date; the majority of heat spots show attacking positions. This was in between the lines of the midfield and defence. Lazio’s fast paced passing game on the day ensured they got behind Roma before they had the chance to set a defensive unit.
Pictured above is the heat map of Lazio’s three midfielders against Spal in Matchday 3 of the Serie A. From this picture, it becomes apparent that the trio spent the majority of the game bogged down in the midfield, had slow build up play and made lots of horizontal passing which lead to a contested midfield, allowing the defensive unit to secure a solid base.
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