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  Upcoming Match | Lazio vs Fiorentina
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Lazio vs Fiorentina
Match Date: 09-03-2015
Location: Rome
Stadium Olimpico
Referee Tagliavento
Time 19:00 CET
Lazio host Fiorentina on Monday in Serie A at the Stadio Olimpico. This is a crucial match for both sides who are in a dog fight for Champions League football, Lazio sit only two points behind Napoli for the coveted third place, Fiorentina are only a point behind Lazio, everything is to play for here. Lazio are coming off an impressive first half performance against Napoli in the Coppa Italia; however, they failed to equal their first half tempo and Napoli was able to emerge from Rome with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final tie. Lazio comfortably handed a Sassuolo, with a decimated defence, a 3-0 loss in their last Serie A match. Fiorentina were able to hand Juventus their first home defeat in over two years in the other semi-final of the Coppa Italia earlier in the week, thanks to a brace from Salah. Fiorentina were also victorious in their last Serie A match, with a victory over Inter, again thanks to Salah.

The reverse fixture of this match had Lazio victorious by a score of 2-0, this was an even fought match and the second goal came deep in injury time when Fiorentina was pushing forward in search of the equalizer. That was probably the match for Fiorentina this campaign that helped them begin to turn their season around and put a string of good results together, which has allowed them to climb the table to the position they are currently in. Make no mistake about it, Montella has Fiorentina firing on all cylinders and they are a force to be reckoned with. Fiorentina are the most successful team in Serie in since the return to play after the Christmas break. In fact, Fiorentina have only been beaten once in 2015, this coming at the hands of a 1-0 defeat from Parma on January 5th. Fiorentina are a deep squad and still have everything to play for on all fronts as they are battling in the Campionato for third place, fighting against Juventus to make the Coppa Italia final, and face yet another showdown with Roma in the round of 16 of the Europa League, this position is really what Lazio should hope for themselves next year. Lazio will have their hands full against Fiorentina, they will need to enter this match with extreme respect for their opponent and Pioli will need to have a clear cut tactical game plan for his men to execute.

In goal for Lazio, Marchetti should start if he is fully fit from the knock he picked up against Sassuolo, if not Berisha is a quality back up, he played well against Napoli. In the centre of defence for Lazio, we should see both De Vrij and Mauricio. On the left and right hand sides of defence I fully expect to see Rad and Basta respectively. The Lazio defensive core will need to be on high alert, Fiorentina can withstand pressure and pounce on a single solitary opportunity, they are tight, tactical and patient. In midfield for Lazio we will see some changes, Parolo will serve a one match ban, he will likely be replaced by Ledesma, I am not sure who else Pioli can go to, Ledesma is fit and eager to prove he is still capable to play at the highest level in Europe, amidst rumours of him moving to play in the MLS this summer. Ledesma will need to enter with his experience and calm the troops, he leadership in the match will be paramount for Lazio. Rounding out the midfield for Lazio will likely be Biglia and Cataldi, both need to have their best showings of the year. Biglia needs to provide more first time balls forward, enacting quick breaks for Lazio and catching Fiorentina defenders on their heels. Cataldi has grown admirably but he is still clearly missing something, this is a monumental match, it is a great time for him to shine and prove his worth.

Up front for Lazio, it will likely be Klose in the centre, depending on how his legs feel he may swap time with Keita Balde, I actually like Keita to start in the centre, he has fresh legs and more speed than Klose. On the left and right hand sides of the attack for Lazio it will undoubtedly be Felipe Anderson and Candreva. Mauri’s health is unknown but it does not appear that he will be ready for this match after breaking his toe in the Sassuolo fixture. Felipe Anderson’s vision and creative play will be essential for Lazio, he continually finds a way to either open up a teammate on goal or find the net himself. Candreva will need to play with the same head of steam he had on during the Sassuolo match, he has stated in the media that he can be better, this is the most important match of the season for Lazio to date so now is the time Antonio. Let’s hope that this match delivers all of the hysteria that it is picking up in the media and that we are all treated with a game for the ages. This is precisely the opportunity that Lazio want themselves in, fighting for Champions League football with a direct competitor, this match will show the squads true value. Picking up the full three points is essential for Lazio to keep the pressure on Napoli for the coveted third position in Serie A. Losing this match is not necessarily season ending, however, the goal of returning to Europe cannot be achieved without wins over direct competitors and quality sides, this is the time for Lazio to show us all.

Bravi raggazi fortuna!

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