Saturday Oct 24, 2020  
  01/07/2015: LazioLand Player of the Season - 5th: Dusan Basta & Antonio Candreva
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In 5th place for Lazio player of the year for the 2014-2015 season, we had a tie on votes for both Basta and Candreva, let’s start with Dusan Basta. On loan this season from Udinese, Basta proved to be an incredible pick up that reaped great rewards for the Lazio defence, he will likely be purchased outright by Lazio this summer in July. Basta is a natural right back and he loves to move forward and attack when given the opportunity. In total, Basta made 27 Serie A appearances for Lazio this campaign, when healthy; he was Pioli’s first pick at right back. Basta missed eight games due to a calf injury for Lazio in the early part of the season. Basta is tactically sound and rarely makes rash challenges, putting his team at risk; Basta had 5 bookings, all in the form of yellow cards this season. Basta logged more minutes this season on the field than any other Lazio defender, playing a total of 2,381 minutes. Despite the emergence of De Vrij and his inconsistent pairing partners in the centre of the defence, Basta was the staple for Lazio and the thirty year old Serbian did not disappoint when he featured for the Biancocelesti.

Basta is most dangerous when he pushes forward; he makes calculated runs, all with the intent to cross the ball into his opponent’s eighteen yard box in hopes of finding one of his teammates to meet the end of his crosses. Basta was able to pick up two assists for Lazio this season, but his most important statistic is really his minutes played, he is not a player that can be gauged on goals and assists. Although, Basta did put one in the back of the net for Lazio this season in the early rounds of the Coppa Italia in a match against Bassano Virtus. Basta really gave Lazio stability and versatility this season and does deserve to be in the top five players of the year for Lazio this season. Basta’s movement from box to box added another layer and point of threat for the Lazio attack, when Basta was visible moving forward in a match, and working together with Candreva on the right hand side of the field, Lazio were more successful. There were matches this season when Pioli did have Basta in a more stay at home role and it has to be said that he was not as effective, although Basta can hold back and defend with confidence.

The other Lazio player tied for 5th place on votes with Basta is Antonio Candreva; he really did have a great season. Candreva was a work horse for Lazio in the midfield and statistically enjoyed the strongest season he has yet for Lazio. Candreva featured in 34 Serie A matches for Lazio in the 2014-2015 campaign and logged 2,660 playing minutes. Candreva only missed out on four games this season, three due to a hamstring injury and one due to suspension for multiple yellow cards, a game he would not have had to sit out if he did not take his shirt off and over celebrate his goals so often. Candreva’s playing time was impressive this season, he works hard moving up the field and attacking on the right hand side, he is constantly running at full pace to break down his oppositions back line. When Lazio went on their impressive streak this season it was Candreva and Felipe Anderson posing the greatest threats in attack for Lazio, and the two men constantly switched sides to create undetermined attacking situations.

Statistically, Candreva had 10 goals and 13 assists for the Biancocelesti in the 2014-2015 season, these were all important contributions for Lazio. Candreva did take penalties for Lazio this season but his most memorable goal came against Palermo in February as Lazio fought from behind to earn a scrappy 2-1 victory, Candreva picked up the winner and was the Lazio player that wanted it and deserved it most. Candreva’s assist are probably more memorable, his movements up the right hand side were quite often effective and he laid the ball off several times in front of the net to leave his fellow Lazio attackers with little more than a tap in. Candreva did this twice in one match to single handily bring Lazio to victory in October of 2014 against Fiorentina, a game in which Candreva was the man of the match. Candreva had a great Coppa Italia for Lazio this season, featuring four times on route to the final against Juventus, picking up a goal and two assists and just over 300 minutes in playing time. Perhaps the reason Candreva was not higher up the list of this year’s top 5 players was his consistency, some games Candreva was not as visible and had little to no impact, we must not forget the demanding physical role that Candreva plays and the strength of Serie A, duplicating performances week in and week out is not easy. With that being said, quite possibly the real reason why Candreva was not further up the list this year is only due to the new arrival of De Vrij and the emergence of Felipe Anderson.

Forza Lazio!

Author: Michael Petricca
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