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Game Preview: Lazio

SS Lazio v Parma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Team Overview

Lazio had an up and down season last year. The club won the Coppa Italia for the seventh time. Lazio, however, only finished eighth in the Serie A table. Expectations are higher this year.

Lazio starts this season with nearly the same squad as last year. Three players transferred out, and they only played 33 games total last season.

The club acquired Denis Vavro from Copenhagen and Manuel Lazarri from SPAL. Both players add depth to the squad and could challenge for a starting role.

Nonetheless, Lazio’s fate again depends on the core group of Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Milinković-Savić.

Immobile and Alberto not only lead the attack; they are the attack. In fact, both players almost account for all of Lazio’s production through four games.

Milinković-Savić plays a more defensive role, but he impacts the game just as much. Lazio did well to keep Milinković-Savić away from Manchester United this summer.

Lazio’s squad is top heavy, but the players at the top are elite. Inter faces its toughest test of the young season.

Key Man

Ciro Immobile returns as Lazio’s centerpiece. He featured in 44 total matches last season, and this year won’t be much different.

Immobile finished last year with 19 goals across all competitions. No other player scored more than nine. He scored 15 of his goals in Serie A.

This year is more of the same for Immobile and Lazio. He scored four of Lazio’s seven goals this season. He also has one assist.

Immobile plays exclusively as a center forward, but he can play anywhere in the attack. He makes great runs off the ball, and he always find open space in the box. Immobile is also an impressive finisher.

If Immobile has a weakness, it’s his defensive work rate. He’s not somebody who consistently tracks back to help the defense. But, given his goal scoring record, his teammates and coaches can’t complain.

Player to Watch

Immobile drives Lazio’s attack, but Luis Alberto is the engine. Alberto joined Lazio for only $4.4 million in 2016. He now is one of the most under-appreciated players in Serie A.

Alberto often plays the classic trequartista role for Lazio. He has great vision, and he’s an excellent playmaker. It’s no surprise that he already has three assists this year.

Alberto comes off a decent 2018-2019 campaign for Lazio. He finished with four goals and five assists in 27 Serie A appearances. The 2017-2018 season, however, was Alberto’s best. He had 11 goals and 14 assists in league play.

Alberto’s stats don’t do him justice. Take a look at Ollie’s player profile to see how he can impact a game.

Manager

Simone Inzaghi had a successful playing career with Lazio. He made 133 appearances for the club from 1999-2010. Most people, however, only knew him as Pippo Inzaghi’s younger brother.

The younger Inzaghi rose from his brother’s shadow as Lazio’s manager. Lazio named Inzaghi manager in 2016. Since then, Lazio has 84 victories in 161 games. Also, Lazio won a Suppercoppa Italia and a Coppa Italia under Inzaghi.

Inzaghi consistently employs a formation with three defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards. He often opts for a 3-5-1-1 with Immobile up front as the focal point. Inzaghi also can be more attack-minded with a 3-4-1-2.

Look for Inzaghi to utilize a more attacking style on Wednesday to challenge’s Inter’s defenders.

Run of Form

Win | Draw | Loss | Win

Lazio’s started the season off strong with a 3-0 victory against Sampdoria. Le Aquile followed this up with a spirited 1-1 draw in the Derby della Capitale.

The third match against SPAL was Lazio’s worst. Immobile gave the club the early lead, but SPAL tied the game in the second half. Lazio conceded a stoppage time goal to lose 2-1.

Lazio bounced back with a 2-0 win against Parma last weekend.

Head to Head

Inter and Lazio meet for the 155th time across all competitions. Inter has a 63-56-35 record.

The clubs met twice in Serie A last season. Inter won the first match 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico. Lazio won the second meeting 1-0 with an early goal from Milinković-Savić.

Inter and Lazio also played in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals. The game ended 0-0, but Lazio advanced on penalty kicks.