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Lazio vs Internazionale
Match Date: 10-05-2015
Location: Rome
Stadium Olimpico
Referee Massa
Time 20:45 CET
Only four games remain in the Serie A Campionato, Lazio host Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday in what promises to be an entertaining battle for European football. Lazio currently sit third in Serie A, one point behind arch rivals Roma and four points ahead of Napoli. Inter sit in eighth spot in Serie A with 49 points but are only two points behind Sampdoria for a Europa League position so still have everything to play for. Inter will be hungry for victory in what Hernanes has deemed a battle for Europe. The reverse fixture of this match was a 2-2 draw in Milan, a breakout match for Filipe Anderson that Lazio should really have had the mental fortitude to win, but Kovacic would not be denied as his equaliser from outside of the box was no match for Marchetti. Lazio are coming off an average performance against Atalanta, but were still able to salvage a point thanks to Marco Parolo. Lazio will simply need to be better against Inter or they will not be successful. Inter enter this match against Lazio coming off a draw against the tight defensive side of Chievo. The week prior, Inter were able to beat Roma by a score of 2-1, courtesy of an early Hernanes goal and a late Icardi goal to seal the victory.

Given the slew of injuries for Lazio, it is hard to determine what faces we will see in the starting eleven, and for that matter, which formation Pioli will field against Inter. In goal for Lazio, Marchetti should start, he was the man of the match in the Atalanta fixture, it could have been 4-0 by the half time whistle and he should be commended for his performance. In the centre of defence for Lazio, we should see both Mauricio and Ciani who has been used two weeks in a row in the absence of De Vrij. The status of De Vrij has been kept quiet, Sunday is in line with the timing of his return and this is the match the Lazio training staff has targeted for his return, we may see him partner with Mauricio once more. On the right hand side of defense for Lazio we should see Basta, he needs to continue to move from box to box, when he is visible, he is effective. On the left hand side of defence for Lazio we should see Radu, if he is not fit to go Braafheid should take his place, both will need to play better than their last time out, this is an area of the Lazio defence that requires strengthening this summer.

If Pioli chooses to field his more comfortable 4-2-3-1 formation, we should see Parolo paired with Cataldi once again, if Biglia is fit to play he would likely start in place of Cataldi. If Biglia is not ready for this match, hopefully he will be available for the Sampdoria fixture in Genoa. It would be shocking to think that anyone other than Anderson and Candreva would start on the left and right flanks for Lazio this weekend. Candreva looked to be in his consistent form against Atalanta and moved well, delivering crosses into the box consistently. Anderson was not visible in his last match, it has to be said that he has not played well the last three weeks and if Lazio hope to take the full three points from Inter, Anderson will need to be at his absolute best, no excuses. Mauri is the captain and the leader of Lazio; he should start in between Anderson and Candreva in the trequarista role just behind the centre forward. Mauri may not have been fit in the Atalanta match, if he was, he will need to display a better performance this weekend against Inter, he was not existent last time out. Dare it be boldly stated that Mauri’s success hinges on the play of Anderson, with one goes the other follows! Cataldi needs to continue to grow, given Mauri’s age, it is in Lazio’s best interest to allow him to try his hand in this role, Lazio needs creative offensive attacking midfielders if they are to continue to be successful long term. Up front for Lazio, it should likely be Klose, he was rested against Atalanta and his experience will be crucial, Keita coming on in the second half with fresh legs is always a welcomed change, he has earned his keep.

This is a match that will test Lazio’s resolve, Inter have been playing well of let and their group continues to bond and is showing signs of a late run in to achieve their European aspirations. Lazio cannot play a defensive style of football against Inter, or they will be punished on the counter attack, in Serie A, it only takes one. For Lazio, this match will pave the way for the finish, a successful result and their confidence will be high, on the contrary, doubts will linger amongst the squad during their final matches. Handing the full three points to a direct competitor for Europe is really the worst case scenario, Lazio must enter this match with belief, Pioli will have his men well prepared and tactically organized. The road to Champions League football cannot be achieved without victories over such notable and respectable opponents as Inter Milan. Lazio have come this far and are this close, so why not now? This is the time, this is the opportunity, it must be taken.

Forza Lazio!

Writer: Michael Petricca
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Lazio vs Internazionale
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