With Inter Milan on a collision course with Lazio, we figured it would be a good time to get in touch with Steven Moore, the founder of The Laziali, and learn all we could about the Biancocelesti. Steven is well worth a follow on Twitter, if you’re in to that thing.
Q: How would you grade Lazio’s transfer window? What areas on the pitch have been strengthened, but what weaknesses remain?
A: As it stands, Lazio have reinforced their squad by securing Gonzalo Escalante (CM/CDM), Pepe Reina (GK), Vedat Muriqi (ST), Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro (CM), Mohamed Fares (LWB), Andreas Pereira (CAM/CM), and Wesley Hoedt (CB). While all proper additions that Simone Inzaghi will most definitely appreciate, there is still some concern with regards to two positions; this being with their attack and backline. A back-up second striker (for Joaquin Correa) and a back-up center back (for Francesco Acerbi) are still required. While Lazio’s Summer Transfer Window looks to be completed (as even stated by Sporting Director Igli Tare), it comes as quite the surprise that a proven and experienced player in each of the (two aforementioned positions) were not brought in; especially due to the Biancocelesti making a return to the UEFA Champions League after a 13-year absence. However, this was primarily due to the club’s inability to find destinations for the ‘deadweight’ in their squad. I would ultimately give give Lazio a ‘B’ or ‘7/10’ for their activity in this Summer Transfer Window.
Q: What are your expectations for this season? How will Lazio balance European football with the league campaign without sacrificing one of the two?
A: My expectations of Lazio for this 2020/21 season? Finish in a top four spot in Serie A (thus making the 2021/2022 edition of the UEFA Champions League), progress to the Round of 16 (finishing in second place in their group) in the Champions League, and at least make it to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. However, note that this is an optimistic prediction. If injuries begin to pile up, I still feel that Lazio will suffer (like last season); I don’t yet believe that they have enough ‘quality depth’ to continue to perform to the best of their abilities (especially with regards to defenders) if some of their starters pick up a knock.
Q: Ciro Immobile’s 2019/20 season was one for the record books thanks to his 36 league goals. That was huge for Lazio, but can he replicate that form again this year?
A: 36 goals in a single Serie A season is absurdly impressive. People will try to knock Ciro Immobile’s achievement by mentioning the amount of penalties he scored, but in my opinion, that tally does not mean a thing; he still had to put the ball in the back of the net. With regards to replicating the same form this season, although I am a huge fan of the Italian, I feel as if it will be a stretch. In all competitions, I can see him passing the 30 goal mark, but in Serie A alone, I think he’ll score around 25 goals this year. However, don’t forget that he’s one of the most instrumental parts of the team; it’s not just the goals he scores, it’s also his attitude, leadership, and mentality that make him a terrific role model and one of the best attackers in the game.
Q: What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game? How do you see it playing out?
A: From their two Serie A matches this season, Inter have shown that they can put the ball in the back of the net and create numerous chances; but they have also shown that they are vulnerable when defending. I feel that the same three characteristics also apply to Lazio. While the Biancocelesti have not scored as many goals as the Nerazzurri have, they have had numerous scoring opportunities that they should have put away (but didn’t) and also conceded much more than they would have liked. Overall, this will be an exciting match similar to Lazio-Atalanta, but I think the scoreline will be closer. A 2-1 or 3-2 result (hopefully) in favour of the Biancocelesti is my prediction, but it could easily go the opposite way (in favour of Inter), especially after scoring 9 goals in two games and being at home.
Many thanks to Steven, and best of luck to him and Lazio this season!