Genoa and Lazio met in game week 25 of Serie A, the travelling Laziali got to see their side secure a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, a venue where the Biancocelesti had not left with all three points since 2017.
This tactical analysis aims to break down both teams’ tactics and show how Inzaghi has made Lazio one of the best defensive sides in the league through organisation and adopting a well drilled press. The attacking phase also comes under focus as we take a deeper look at some key tactical implementations which have Lazio the second highest scorers in Serie A.
Both coaches went for the 3-5-2 set-up. Inzaghi’s side were covered by Thomas Strakosha on the goal and Ştefan Radu, Denis Vavro and Patric as a back-three. Jony played as a left wing-back accompanied by Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva, Sergej Milinković-Savić and Adam Marušić in the midfield. The front duo included Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo.
Nicola on the other hand opted for Daniele Padelli in goal, getting the support of Masiello, Soumaoro and Biraschi in defence. The midfield area was covered by Criscito, Cassala, Schöne, Behrami and Ankersen. Sanabria led the attack alongside Favilli.
Genoa’s attempt to put Lazio’s defensive unit under pressure
Simone Inzaghi was forced to hand Denis Vavro his first Serie A start for the biancocelesti after his move from FC Copenhagen last summer against Genoa, after Francesco Acerbi had to pull out from the match day squad during the warm up due to a thigh problem. This change mean that Lazio had two players in their defensive unit of three which were not regulars due to the suspension of Luiz Felipe.
Davide Nicola looked to capitalise on Lazio’s shortcomings by instructing his side to increase the pressure on the visiting sides defensive unit by adopting a high press with a view to forcing a mistake.
Unfortuntaley for Genoa, they conceded the first goal in a move which started back from the feet of goalkeeper Strakosha.
As you can see from the above diagram Genoa opted to press onto Lazio, however the lack of cohesion in the press left Vavro with ample time and space to receive a pass from Strakosha. The defender advanced with the ball forcing Favilli onto him which left Radu open, the Romanian then played the long ball forward which resulted in Caicedo setting up Marusic for the goal.
Minutes later Nicola’s side still had not learnt from their mistakes, again you can see how is free to receive a pass from Vavro allowing Lazio to move the ball forward with minimal no pressure. The flaw in adopting a high press is in order for it to be effective the whole team needs to press or else the attacking side can play the ball out with ease, packing a significant amount of players with a single pass.
Genoa did manage to get the press right later on in the game, in the below image you can see how effective the press can be when applied with synergy. Lazio were forced to play the ball back to Strakosha due to having no free forward passing lanes, forcing Lazio to go long from the back and result in losing the ball in a period of the game where Genoa built the pressure as they looked to get back into the match.
Inzaghi’s well drilled defensive unit
Organisation and intensity, two of the underlying factors which contribute to Lazio boasting the best defensive form going into week 25 of Serie A, conceding only 21 goals in 24 games.
Inzaghi’s side showed from the off their ability to work as a team in relation to shutting down the oppositions options on the ball through effective marking.
In the above image Inzaghi’s side have all the passing lanes closed off to Genoa, each player find themselves positioned close to their opponent forcing the play, this intensity enabled Lazio to dominate the attacking momentum in the early phases of the game forcing Genoa into making mistakes and earning back possession for the visitors.
Again Lazio have completely shut down all the positive passing lanes keeping Genoa at bay, their ability especially considering the changes in defence shows how hard Inzaghi must work his side in relation to tactics at their Formello training centre.
In the above image Lazio’s defensive unit hold a high line to ensure that they do not invite Genoa onto them in a period of the game where only a score separates the two sides. Again the outfield players are working in pairs when closing down the ball, forcing Genoa to play a long ball in front of the defence, which is most defenders meat and drink in relation to dealing with a threat.
Lazio and the use of a deep-lying playmaker
Lazio and Luis Alberto in particular can often be found dropping deeper on the pitch to influence the game. Here the Spaniard operating as a deep-lying playmaker picks the ball up off his defence and passes the ball forward to Caicedo.
The more you watch Lazio the more you will notice how well oiled their attacking movements are, often one player from the attacking unit will drop deep to show for the ball whilst the other will spin to stretch the defence, creating room for a midfielder to drop into to often play the key pass.
Here you can see Caicedo is the player who links the play off of Alberto, leaving Immobile and Milincović-Savić to work in unison to generate a chance on goal.
Again a slight change on personnel but the similar tactical pattern, Lucas Leiva with time and space in the deep-lying role can either his pass to Caicedo or look to play a long ball over the defence to Immobile or Milinković-Savić who can often be found as the most advanced midfielder due to his height and ability to win the ball at the far post.
Lazio and their threat on the counter
Inzaghi’s side (six) only find Parma (eight) in front of them in relation to scoring goals on the counter in Serie A, these numbers are helped by having players like Lazzari, Correa and Immobile who all possess exceptional pace however the counter is only as good as the transition.
Here you can see a similar pattern, Immobile dropping deep to play a one-two with Cataldi operating in the deep-lying playmaker role who can launch a pass like a quarter-back in American Football to one of the three highlighted advanced players.
Lazio have certainly put the game beyond doubt against Genoa due to their threat on the counter, with the home side trying to take the game to the visitors late in the final stages Correa and Lazzari both could and probably should have added their name to the scoresheet.
Lazio showed how tactically astute their second string players are in relation to their usual game-plan. This is credit to Simone Inzaghi and his coaching side, with the likes of Patric, Vavro and Marusic all starting against Genoa this potential banana skin of defeat in fixture was avoided.
This will help to fill the Laziali with confidence, especially taking into consideration the fact that they have five players that are one booking away from a suspension. The Biancocelesti do not have the squad depth that their Scudetto rivals Inter and Juventus have to call upon, however they do have one of the best Italian coaches at their disposal in the form of Inzaghi.
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