Lazio’s cross field passing vs Inter’s defensive shape
Inzaghi had clearly done his homework on how Conte and Inter would approach the game during their defensive phase, Inter opting to retreat both wing backs to form a five at the back. This is demonstrated in the above image, Candreva has dropped in to nulify the threat of Jony and Young has joined the defensive line sitting parallel to the edge of the box, where he can martial Marusic’s movement. This enables Barella, Brozović and Vecino to press onto the advancing Biancocelesti, however to counter this Lazio often opted to play balls cross field over the defending midfielders, forcing them to cover a lot of ground for minimal gains. This is demonstrated above, Alberto plays the ball square to Milinkovic-Savic as Brozović closes him down forcing the Inter man to continue to cover more ground without really being in a position to influence the game.
Lukaku‘s improved hold up play
Lukaku has certainly demonstrated that his game with back to goal has improved significantly under Conte, the forward was often slated during his time playing in the Premier League for having a heavy touch and lacking the IQ to bring his side into play. Lukaku mark 2.0 playing for Inter showed time and time again against Lazio that he has worked on this side of the game. The Belgian often found himself receiving the ball with a Lazio player in close proximity, above he shields the ball under pressure from Acerbi and releases his side on the counter by showing a deft touch to play the ball into the path of the advancing Nerazzurri.
Alberto the magician
There is a reason as to why Luis Alberto is leading the Serie A charts in relation to Assists (11) and Key Passes Per 90 minutes (3). The Spaniard has the ability to play a killer pass in situations where others may look to take the easier route. Above Alberto opts to squeeze the ball through the middle of the three Inter players to Immobile, which resulted in the striker getting a strike off in a position with an xG value of 0.35. Considering how tight Young has positioned himself to Godin and how narrow the back line is you would have thought the most common pass would have been to Lazzari, Alberto really has been a stand out performer this season and has an average score of 7.66 from WhoScored.com.
Lazio Inviting Pressure
Despite Lazio now being unbeaten for 19 games, there is still work for Inzaghi to carry out at the training ground in Formello. Here the Biancocelesti invite Inter onto them, the defensive line are sitting deep in and are inside the 18 yard line, the defensive shape of Alberto, Immobile and Correa is not good as they aren’t forming a screen for Inter to play around. Here Škriniar has two options, play the ball to Moses, who showed against Milan his ability to deliver a cross or to slide the ball into Eriksen who is un-marked in the pocket of significant space between the two lines. In this circumstance the ball was played to the latter who’s strike was saved by Strakosha.
Do Inzagi’s side invite pressure onto themselves, the above would certainly signal this, which could be the reason as to why they haven’t kept many clean sheets this season.
Take note the position of Milinkovic-Savic, the midfielder has connected himself to the back line as his height and aerial ability strengthens Lazio from the threat of the ball in the air.
Where is Jony?
The defensive capability of Jony has come under the spotlight during recent appearances for Lazio and it was certainly an area which Conte and Inter could exploit. Here the converted wing-back is completely out of position as Inter counter, this phase of play actually lead to Inter taking the lead. Ashley Young played the ball to advancing Candreva who was unmarked, allowing him all the time in the day to get a shot off on goal.