It had been a bad week for Lazio coming into week six of the Serie A season. A surprising home defeat to Genoa last weekend was followed by a demolition at the hands of title contenders Napoli in the midweek round.
It was Lazio’s first real test of character in the campaign as they played host to Siena at the Stadio Olimpico this Sunday. Arriving from two straight defeats, Petkovic and his men needed a win to get their campaign back on the right track.
Lazio started the match in a similar fashion to how they started the first three rounds, on the front foot. Holding possession and taking control of the match has been something Vladmir Petkovic has made clear he wants to see his Lazio imply regularly this season.
It was vital going into the match that an early goal was needed to dictate the way Petkovic went about the game. That early goal didn’t come against Genoa, and proved to be the key factor as a tired Lazio struggled to break Genoa down as the match went on.
Thankfully against Siena it was an early goal that set the mood. Ederson celebrated his first goal for the club with a fine bullet header on his full debut. After Miroslav Klose was felled in the box, Christian Ledesma then put the match to bed with the resulting spot kick. Despite a late goal from Massimo Paci, Lazio continued to control the match and the three points never really looked in doubt.
“We dominated for 90 minutes and decided to control the 2-0, but could’ve finished it off earlier. Ederson is doing well, but is not 100 per cent fit. We are third? Yes, but it’s early.” These words came after many suggested Petkovic should start to rotate his squad now the matches are coming thick and fast.
The great start to the campaign was quickly halted after the previous two defeats, and many are suggesting that rotation needs to occur amongst the squad in the coming weeks to help with the workload. Petkovic cannot be criticised too much so early on, but he is going to have to make some changes soon whether he likes it or not. With the likes of Sergio Floccari, Mauro Zarate and Libor Kozak warming the bench, there are many options for the coach should he need them.
The Biancocelesti are in European action at home to Maribor tonight, and then a short journey across the Peninsula to Pescara follows on Sunday. On paper Lazio should be taking maximum points from both encounters, but I feel there is a need for rotation if this is to happen.
Without criticising the team too much, there is a slight cause for concern about finishing chances. Has Petkovic been waiting for injuries to occur before introducing the likes of Zarate and Floccari? The midweek match against Maribor is a chance to test out a new method before Lazio are forced to.
Consistency amongst the back line has been a talking point amongst fans recently. At times the defence seem on a different wavelength to one another and against Siena, they had to rely on Federico Marchetti again after some poor defending. New signing Michael Ciani looks like he can provide a solid partnership with Andre Dias - Maribor could be a chance for the pair to create an understanding with each other, which against Napoli was evidently not there yet.
After Pescara, we enter yet another International break, giving Petkovic and his men a chance to recharge after what has been a hectic month of action. The first game back after the break is a home tie against Milan, which will be there for the taking if Lazio can keep a fit squad and punish with their creativity.
Yet I feel there are changes that need to occur before the break. Are Antonio Candreva, Senad Lulic and Abdoulay Konko providing enough creativity for Klose or should Petkovic introduce Sergio Floccari to help Klose in around the box? What changes would you make?