Monday Jul 13, 2020  
  11/09/2015: Preview: Lazio - Udinese
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Lazio host Udinese on Sunday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Hopefully the international break has allowed the squad to regroup and refocus after a tough 4-0 loss to Chievo the last time out in Serie A. This will be a busy week for Lazio as their return to European football will grant them the first 3 game week in over two years. The depth of Lazio will surely be tested this week and fitness will play a major part in their success, to play Udinese, Dnipro and Napoli in seven days is no easy task.

Udinese shocked Juventus in week one by a score of 1-0 and fell by the same score to Palermo the flowing week. Udinese play tight defensively and need only one single counter attack to put the ball in the back of the net and take the full three points from any opponent, Lazio only need to look to this fixture last year where they dominated possession and the play of the game only to head to the tunnels at full time defeated by a lone Cyril Thereau strike.

Lazio are ravaged with injuries but this cannot be used as an excuse, the squad is built with depth to handle the week in front of them adequately, however, it will be their youth that will be forced to shine in order to achieve results. In goal, Marchetti is still recovering from a rib injury so he looks doubtful to start for Lazio. In central defence, De Vrij is unlikely to feature for Lazio as he picked up a knee injury on international duty against Turkey; quite possibly it will be Mauricio and Gentiletti in the middle of the back four this weekend. Lazio will need to be much more organized and proactive in defence, Chievo continuously caught them flat footed, if the same holds true on Sunday we could easily see the same score line.

In midfield for Lazio, Biglia will once again miss out, we should see Onazi and or Cataldi this weekend pick up a start, Onazi’s hustle and determination in the middle of the park would be most welcomed. The 4-2-3-1 formation is more adequate for a depleted Lazio as it allows Pioli to feature more of Lazio’s weapons. This formation also allows Pioli to utilize his bench more effectively and make substitutions at half time or early in the second half introducing speed and strength into preferred positions, most notably Keita and Kishna as well as Cataldi, should fatigue set in with Parolo. Also look for Morrison to feature in midfield in some capacity this weekend, Pioli may allow him to play in the high midfield position he prefers, just behind the centre forward, Lazio’s offence needs a break out performance.

On the wings for Lazio on Sunday we should see both Anderson and Candreva once more, Candreva had a good spell for the Italian national side over the break so his confidence should be high. If Anderson is not able to make an impact his role as a starter may begin to be questioned and he has not proven to be any more effective than new arrival Kishna.

Up front for Lazio in attack, we will likely see new arrival Matri, which will undoubtedly be much to the dismay of Keita. Unfortunately both Klose and Djordjevic are injured and will be unavailable to Pioli. Matri is a natural centre forward who has an eye for goal, if Candreva and Anderson can be effective in their creativity and delivery, Matri will pounce.

This is a great test for Lazio on Sunday, a strong result will allow the squad to build confidence heading into a tough physical week of football. Lazio must chalk the last time out in Serie A up to a poor performance and put the result behind them, this strong type of mentality is exactly what is needed for long term success in Serie A. Now is the time to deliver and show everyone that this SS Lazio squad is for real.

Projected line-up: Berisha, Mauricio, Gentiletti, Radu, Basta, Parolo, Onazi, Anderson, Morrison, Candreva, Matri

Forza Lazio!

Author: Michael Petricca
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