Lazio vs Napoli: Post Match Review
A David Ospina mistake gifted Ciro Immobile and his Lazio side victory in a game which saw the Biancocelesti win their tenth Serie A game in a row for the first time in the clubs history. Simone Inzaghi has now set a club record which had previously been held by Sven-Göran Eriksson (9) in 1998/99.
Prior to the game the Laziali in the Curva Nord celebrated the clubs 120 year history, making this a day to truly remember.
The home side started the game with confidence, moving the ball around and dominating possession. Lazio looked every bit the side who have a 100% record in their last nine games.
On the 12th minute a good block from Mario Rui denied Immobile after a quick one-two with Caicedo. Moments later Fabian Ruiz was caught napping in his own penalty area by Caicedo, however he recovered well by completing the block on the forwards strike.
On the 28th minute Lorenzo Insigne showed his awareness as he spotted Thomas Strakosha off his line and tried to curl a free kick directly into the far top corner, the Albanian pulled off a wonderful fingertip save at full stretch.
Minutes later Napoli continued their ascent as Allan produced a moment of inspiration unleashing a solo effort after riding two tackles, his effort blazed over the bar.
Lazio reacted well to Napoli and the home side created a series of chances prior to the break. In the 42nd minute Ospina was alert to smother the Sergej Milinkovic-Savic snapshot after an impressive team move, then moments later a Mario Rui rash clearance fell into the path of Milinkovic, who volleyed the ball, not connecting well enough to cause Ospina too much concern.
Moments before the break Luis Alberto got a shot off on goal, his powerful effort was staright at Ospina. At this point Inzaghi probably wished that the half time whistle didn’t blow as Lazio played their best football of the half.
The second half saw Napoli really take control of the game, Gattuso clearly told his side that he was not happy with their efforts in the first period and the team rallied.
Napoli looked a different team, they were moving the ball faster in attack and pressing well as a team in defence, forcing Lazio to play long ball out from the back to Immobile who rarely crossed the half way line.
Danilo Cataldi replaced Caicedo, as Milinkovic-Savic moved into a more advanced role to support Immobile. However, Napoli had their best chance of the game so far on 68 minutes, as Piotr Zielinski bent a shot with his right foot which curled around Strakosha to bounce off the foot of the far post.
On the 76th minute Insigne was also denied by Strakosha, who saved the ball down low with a one-handed save, the Lazio keeper was having an excellent game between the sticks.
The deadlock was broken on 83 minutes thanks to what can only be described as an absolute howler from Ospina. The Napoli keeper was caught in possession on a back-pass, he tried to dribble with the ball instead of hitting row Z and Immobile pounced.
Europes most deadly marksman at present needed no second chance, the striker managed to swerve in a shot from a tight angle, despite Giovanni Di Lorenzo’s attempted clearance.
It was wide open in the closing stages, Lazio could have had another after Luis Alberto played Immobile in on goal. Fernando Llorente had penalty appeals for a header late on, but replays showed that the ball clearly struck Senad Lulic on the face, not the arm.
Lazio vs Napoli: Statistical Analysis
Napoli ended the game with the majority share of possession finishing the match having had 64% of the ball. Despite having the ball for longer periods of the game it was the home side who managed to create more big chances and attempts on goal from better positions; Lazio finished the game with xG figure of 0.94 compared to Napoli’s 0.62.
The return of Luis Alberto to the Lazio starting eleven resulted in the majority of play being played down the left hand side, with Lulic also having a strong influence in the match as he overlapped the Spaniard to provide an attacking option.
Laziali will be pleased to see Alberto back in the squad, his presence was missed in the previous game week against Brescia. In Saturdays game the mezzala drifted into positions between the Napoli midfield and defence, picking up the ball and looked to play the ball down the channel.
Unfortunately Alberto couldn’t be as creative as he would have liked, Lazio played extremely deep in the second half leaving Immobile isolated, which reflects in the image below showing a high amount of Alberto’s passes being lateral and not in the final third.
Alberto also attempted three take-ons during the game, he beat his man on every attempt.
The presence of Acerbi in the Lazio back-line ensured that the Napoli attacking line ended the game winning none of their aerial battles. The Italian coming out on top winning 100% of the ball in the air. Acerbi also managed to clear the ball five times from dangerous positions, two of these he lacked composure, swinging wildly at the ball; however the danger was removed, forcing Napoli away from goal.
Lazio vs Napoli: Man of the Match
Thomas Strakosha, the Albanian ensured that Lazio kept a clean sheet making four saves across the 90 minutes, two of which were of the finest quality to secure the record breaking tenth Serie A victory in a row.
This was Strakosha’s sixth clean sheet of the campaign putting him one behind the leading goalkeepers Gianluigi Donnarumma and Samir Handanovic both on seven.