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Sassuolo vs Lazio
Match Date: 01-03-2015
Location: Sassuolo
Stadium Città del Tricolore
Referee Russo
Time 15:00 CET
Lazio head to the Stadio Comunale E. Ricci on Sunday in week 25 of the Serie A Campionato to take on Sassuolo. Lazio enter this match coming off a very well-played second half against Palermo that saw them emerge victorious at a score of 2-1, thanks to a Candreva bomb. Sassuolo suffered defeat the week prior by a score of 2-0 at the hands of an in form Napoli. Sassuolo are nine points clear of the relegation zone but have only managed to earn one point in their last three matches, they will enter this match well prepared and be looking to turn their fortunes around. Lazio are currently fourth in Serie A and are one point ahead of Fiorentina but are five points behind Napoli for the final Champions League position. Lazio can ill afford to continue to drop points and fall further behind Napoli, Lazio must continue to keep the pressure on Napoli or their hope of Champions League football will become a pipedream. The reverse fixture of this match in Rome had Lazio victorious by a score of 3-2, with Candreva picking up the winner. Sassuolo play well at home and are capable of claiming victory against any team in Serie A, Inter can attest to that.

In goal for Lazio Marchetti will undoubtedly pick up the start, he will need to be extremely aware as Sassuolo can pounce off even the most unlikely of opportunities, Berardi and Zaza can both be lethal, neither of the two men are afraid to shoot, location does not matter. In defence for Lazio De Vrij will centre the core, it is hard to say who will join him in the middle. Pioli does appear to favour Mauricio, given his unfortunate giveaway last week against Palermo it is more than possible we could see Cana partner with De Vrij. If Basta is healthy, he should start at right back and will be joined with Radu on the left side of defence. In midfield for Lazio, we should see Parolo and Cataldi, Biglia came off early against Palermo as he was not 100%, if he is fully fit we should also see him start in midfield for Lazio, if he is unfit, Ledesma should start in his place. Parolo’s grit in the centre of the park will be essential for Lazio on Sunday, his work ethic is paramount and he is a role model for the rest of the team. Biglia is capable of more and it would be nice to see him playing more quick balls forward, catching Sassuolo off guard and creating quick counter attack chances.

In attack for Lazio, Klose will lead the way in the centre. It will be interesting to see if Felipe Anderson starts for Lazio, he is available coming off a one match ban, I suspect that he will, it is possible Mauri may be rested for the Coppa Italia match later in the week. Candreva is questionable after his face plant against the wall in front of the curva nord from his game winning goal celebration against Palermo. If he cannot play, Keita is eagerly awaiting an opportunity, rumours have been circulating he is not happy with his playing time at Lazio so he could have more of a role to play this weekend against Sassuolo. Pioli clearly has options up front in attack, it would be nice to see Keita and Anderson in action together on the wings centred by the experienced Klose. Sassuolo can often times be the tale of two tapes, the perfect example of this is losing 7-0 to inter away and beating them at home 2-0. The Sassuolo defence is experienced and capable of shutting Lazio out, they are missing Cannavaro and this is part of the reason for their recent slump. The Lazio attacking core will not be handed a gift, they will need to work hard to wear down the Sassuolo back line, if they are able to do so they will earn themselves some clear cut opportunities that they will need to make the most of.

I expect Lazio to enter this match well prepared and determined, the second half last week against Palermo was one of complete domination and a performance worth building from, it remains to be seen if Lazio can play this way for a full ninety minutes. As a group, Lazio appear to have all banded together behind Pioli, and are focused on their goal of returning to Europe. With only 14 weeks remaining in Serie A, continuing to drop points cannot be accepted. Competition in Serie A is fierce, Lazio are in a dog fight for Europe with Fiorentina, Genoa, Sampdoria and Inter all close behind in the table. Lazio are taking the Coppa Italia very seriously but they cannot be looking ahead to Napoli mid-week or they will be caught off guard. The time is now for Lazio to show their competitors that they are for real and that they plan on finishing the campaign strong.

Writer: Michael Petricca
Team Name Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Sassuolo vs Lazio
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