Friday October 13 2017
Opportunity knocks in Juve-Lazio

Juventus have the opportunity for Supercoppa revenge on Lazio, but risk another Simone Inzaghi tactical lesson, writes Daryl Hammond.

Arguably one of the most enthralling matches between two Italian teams came before the season even started. Paulo Dybala’s 91st-minute equaliser was outdone in the drama stakes by Alessandro Murgia’s winner at the 93rd to hand Lazio a deserved Italian Super Cup win over Juventus in August. Fast forward two months and both are still flying high in Serie A, fuelling enthusiasm for another potential barnstormer between the two.

On the weekend of Derby della Madonnina and Derby del Sole, the best viewing may be found in Turin this Saturday.

Before their Supercoppa triumph, Lazio had failed to beat Juventus in their last 14 attempts, and but for that win, it would be difficult to see any other result this weekend.

But then, Simone Inzaghi found it. After several failed encounters, he found a way to expose the Bianconeri’s’ defensive frailties, and most importantly nullify their immense attacking threat for the best part of 85 minutes. It was not just Juventus, as the Biancocelesti’s 4-1 demolition of Milan shows.

The fact that Lazio are in a position to leapfrog their opponents in the table with a win is indicative of both how well they have started the season and how much is at stake this early, with ground to make up on table-toppers Napoli. The international break arguably came at an unwanted time for both sides. Lazio put six goals past Sassuolo in their last match, and although Juve were held to a draw at Atalanta, it would always prove a testing tie and came off the back of six straight wins.

With Lazio showing a keen eye for goal of late, the fixture may be decided by which side’s star strikers has the better time in front of the net. Dybala has lit up the league so far, leading the scoring charts with 10 goals, and Immobile is not far behind on nine, but hit 13 in all competition. Both also scored a brace in the Supercoppa, but their performances differed greatly.

Dybala’s attacking threat was stymied in the first half by Lucas Leiva, rendering him ineffectual from open play, with his goals coming from a free-kick (a spectacularly taken one at that) and a penalty. Without injured Miralem Pjanic to help, Juve may look to La Joya to provide a creative spark under likely increased marking and pressure.

Immobile meanwhile showcased some of the best facets of his game – pace – and demonstrated his aerial prowess in heading in his side’s second. It may indeed require a solo act, with many of the supporting cast on the side-lines. The Old Lady are without the aforementioned Pjanic, as well as Benedikt Howedes, Mattia De Sciglio and Marko Pjaca. Mario Mandzukic and Andrea Barzagli have also picked up knocks on international duty.

While Mandzukic’s role in the team is an important one, and no doubt they look stronger with him, it opens the door for a new approach to the match, such as the utilisation of wingers Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi. Both made an appearance from the bench in the Super Cup, and though Juve’s goals came from set pieces, the directness of the wingers - particularly Douglas Costa - helped stretch the Lazio back line and create opportunities.

Moreover, Mandzukic often drifts towards the centre-forward role, which made it difficult for Alex Sandro to navigate his way past Dusan Basta and a covering midfielder. Only later in the match could he have a significant impact, winning the penalty for Juve’s equaliser.

Allegri was out-coached in their first encounter this season, and admitted as much. And while Inzaghi will stick to the tactics that earned him his first piece of silverware in his tenure at the club, Allegri may well learn and adapt to ensure his side resume their dominance over Lazio.

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Have your say...
I don't get Allegri's starting lineup I just don't really get it at all. I'm dumbfounded..Why the 4231 when he can utilise 352 on a Lazio that plays a vertical passing game through their midfield.Or revert to a 442 system on an attacking system where you can use your fullbacks to push your wingbacks(outer mids)..forward,And on a counter use 451 on when defending preferably which would close down the whole miss system that Lazio seems to be using very well.
on the 16th October, 2017 at 5:12am
Allegri might pull it off again,but thats not good enough.Nobody's questioning his tactics, his fallout of game planning in the second half.The second half falling off has been there always with allegri but suddenly no one has questioned that.2years ago it happened with bayern munich and always been there.The board should have gotten rid of him because he has given no identity to this team at all. Bayern did it with angelotti, why cant we?
on the 15th October, 2017 at 10:08pm
To learn such skill set?Is it really that hard?How can you use a world class striker like that, if wingers and full backs dont do their job?With Conte, we knew his playing style. His full back/wingers knew what they were doing, protecting the sides at all costs, the 2 attacking midfilders were always making a run inside the goal area together with the 2 strikers. Basically under conte, we were attacking the goal area with 4 players.With Allegri theres always 1 or 2 players in the zone,no more.
on the 15th October, 2017 at 10:04pm
We cant go on with a coach like that.His selections in big games is mind blowing and we cant go on with his 'tactical approach'.In 4 years he has given no identity at all to this Juventus team.We have only relied on individual greatness and no system of play.I really like to know how he thinks of our styling play because I havent got a clue. The wingers stay always on the wing and never cut inside and they also never cross the ball long it takes for wingers and full backs to learn..
on the 15th October, 2017 at 10:00pm
Well played Lazio. I don't like criticizing Allegri as he usually delivers the goods over the course of a long season, but I honestly can't understand the logic behind the starting XI in any of the matches so far this season, especially this one. In addition to questionable player rotations, I find our collective squad mentality to be a shadow of its former self. In particular, our performance and fitness levels seem to drop off in the second half, even in games we win. Where is the grinta?
on the 15th October, 2017 at 11:57am
Good win lazio. I dont understand leaving dybala on the bench for 60 mins. He should have started and come off if rest was needed. Thanks max this game is on you. Also if no quadrado then play bernardeshi even though dybala seems to have reslly been what was missing in this match.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 7:10pm
Well said, Lazio have made really good investments in the last few years and if they would trust themselves a little more and invest in a few more players then we could compete with the likes of Juve and Napoli more regularly and would be in the top 3 teams.

Inzaghi is making the best out of the team we should try to hold on to the players who want to stay and invest in a few more players like Milankovic, Immobile and Devrij.
on the 14th October, 2017 at 8:38am
on the 13th October, 2017 at 8:20pm

The Argentinian brother.
on the 13th October, 2017 at 4:40pm
I know who Federico Bernardeschi is but Ive not heard of Fernando Bernardeschi. Maybe he's the brother huh?
on the 13th October, 2017 at 1:56pm

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