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Thursday January 9 2020
Keeping up with Immobile

Records have tumbled so far this season and Ciro Immobile is proving himself to be an excellent all-round striker for Lazio and Italy, writes Vijay Rahaman.

It's stoppage time at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti and promoted Brescia are holding Serie A’s form team Lazio to a 1-1 draw and it seemed that the Biancocelesti's current streak is about to end. Then a long raking ball from Francesco Acerbi into the box is headed down by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, collected by Felipe Caicedo, who places the ball perfectly into the path of Ciro Immobile, and while falling to the ground he strokes the ball into the left hand corner of the goal.

Game. Set. Match.

The 29-year old's poacher's instinct had once again proved invaluable to the capital side. Victory put them and six points behind Inter and Juventus in the standings, with a game in hand. The statistics that are defining Immobile and Lazio's campaign are becoming the stuff of legend. It was the Neapolitan's 19th goal his first 17 games, the first player to achieve that feat since Antonio Angelillo with Inter 61 years ago. It was Le Aquile's ninth consecutive league win, matching the all-time club record set by Sven Goran Eriksson in 1998-1999, and they have scored at least two goals in each of their last 12 matches in Serie A, the longest ever such streak besides Torino's legendary team of the 1940s.

Not bad for a player and a team that has not always garnered much fanfare.

Immobile has his critics and some are entirely justified. His technique could do with some work, his play at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla left a lot to be desired, while his performances with Italy have been average at best. In addition to which, he was written off as a one-season wonder after that break-out year with Torino back in 2013-2014. 

However, he is a striker in the true sense of the word. Deceptively quick, physically strong with the ability to hold up the ball despite his slight frame, great with either foot, an efficient header of the ball, maximises the space afforded to him, tireless worker who chases and presses defenders into mistakes and links up superbly with his teammates. On that note, he already has five assists in the league this season to go along with the bucketload of goals. 

Even at international level, he has made more of an impact. Under new boss Roberto Mancini, he has garnered three goals and two assists in Euro 2020 qualifiers, while rotating the starting position with Torino forward Andrea Belotti. He has taken his game to the next level under Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, particularly his link-up play.

He always had a striker's instinct in the box, with the ability to be in the right place at the right time, something Inzaghi knows a lot about himself. The way he improved in leaps and bounds with his distribution and his chemistry with SMS, Luis Alberto and Joaquin Correa make that front four one of the deadliest in Europe.

Immobile is the cherry on top of that tasty cake that Inzaghi has created at Lazio. They are not just about breaking records and playing an entertaining brand of football, of course, as they have added notches to their belt that they can be rightfully proud of. A Coppa Italia Final win over revelations Atalanta side last season, inflicting the only two Juventus defeats under Maurizio Sarri, including the Supercoppa Italiana triumph. 

Even when Immobile does not get on the scoresheet, he always gives his contribution to the team. His ability to run at the opposition and take defenders with him when Lazio are in possession allow for space to be exploited by his teammates. The sign of any good striker besides putting the ball into the back of the net is the ability to attract the attention of defenders to such an extent that it leaves spaces in and around the final third. Those spaces have been effectively taken advantage of by his teammates and Immobile deserve a massive amount of credit for that.

The striker has proven that the fantastic season he had six years ago was no fluke. The year 2020 is barely a week old and already Immobile has gotten off to a flying start, so with a possible Scudetto challenge and Euro 2020 in the summer, the good times could get even better for the striker.

Have your say...
Say what? Ciro pounces again and Lazio have 10 wins in row! Goal out of nothing! Go and grab your pictures of CR7, we have the player who is on track to score 40 in the league this season!
on the 11th January, 2020 at 7:31pm
Yes he is good for LAZIO and against Juventus just cos he missed a penalty doesn't mean he can't handle top teams. Remember all top players have missed a penalty in their lives. I still think he needs to improve his goal record with ITALY he must start all games instead of coming off the bench and must get the service. Hope in 2020 he can finally score goals and win euro 2020.
on the 11th January, 2020 at 4:31pm
if Tuco was writing article he'd refer to Ciro as "Blondie" always liked Immobile, wish best for him as fellow Napolitano. but recognize that many greater players wore the lazio shirt. nonetheless hes a great fit for them. as someone else mentioned he really had a moment to prove his wealth and mental strength, yet again when it really mattered choked on a pk...and the rebound.remember this is an Italy that failed to qualify for WC18 so yes hes some of the best weve got to make good at EURO20.
on the 10th January, 2020 at 9:26pm
@Momo nice try in bringing up a player that has nothing to do with this article so others could throw hatred his way. Pathetic really. As for Immobile he has been gr8 for Lazio and he isnt the 1st nor the last player to star for club but suck for country. What i would say is that against Juventus, he had the chance to show that he is tough mentally. His side were 2-1 up vs best team in the land, he was on a record breaking scoring streak, got a penalty but missed. Told a lot about his mentality
on the 10th January, 2020 at 11:29am
His stats speak volumes about his ability. I don't care what all these haters are rambling on about but who could perform well under that disgrace of a CT Ventura.. anyway even CR7 would have struggled!!!
It's up to an intelligent coach to work out how best to utilise his undoubted ability as Inzaghi has shown.
on the 10th January, 2020 at 8:11am
He's a complicated personality, who could bring a lot to the table if you know how to manage him! Inzaghi needs some credit, but I don't get the hate. I agree Italy is lacking in style and creativity, and he does not get the service he gets and does not have the confidence he has at Lazio. Maybe they should ask themselves what are they doing wrong that they're not getting the best Ciro!!!! Happy to have him at Lazio... the hate is unreal smh
on the 10th January, 2020 at 3:01am
Yes he has been poor for Italy in the past, but there are clear signs that he is growing in confidence on the International stage. Many of his caps came as a sub when the likes of Pelle and Eder were first choice, while under Ventura, none of our players performed and took a while to find their confidence again.

Under Mancini, Italy's midfield and attack is improving all of the time and so I fancy Ciro and Belotti to both make their mark in 2020.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 11:57pm
He's been great with Lazio, especially this season, no argument there. But he's been dismal with the Nazionale. I would put him second behind Ventura on a list of reasons why we didn't qualify for the 2018 World Cup. I expect a similar performance at the Euros.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 5:44pm
Not always his biggest fan, but he has done really well since joining Lazio. Hoping he can continue that form with the Azzurri this summer, especially given that our midfield should be capable of creating plenty of chances for him.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 5:03pm
I'm not a huge fan of Immobile, but I think we can still see his domestic form replicated on the international stage if we tweak the tactics a bit, and he keeps gaining confidence. One thing I've learned following Italy, is that the Balotelli fanboys will constantly slam Immobile and Belotti, while ignoring that both of them outperform Super Mario every year domestically. Reason does not work with these people. They will hold on to the outlier of 2012 Euro's until Balotelli retires.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 4:41pm
All Hail King Ciro - On this form - he can lead ITA to glory in 2020.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 3:32pm
Haters gonna hate. Immobile gets much better service and is a team player for Lazio, whereas La Nazionale have been lacking identity and more crucially a real playmaker like Luis Alberto. Also Correa (and previously Felipe Anderson) could open up spaces with their pace, who does this for Italy? A striker is only as good as the service he gets.
on the 9th January, 2020 at 3:29pm
Yeah, good for the author to pen another article, but it's a lost cause - an epithet fitting for Immobile.

For all his "achievements" in Serie A, Immobile is a major flop for La Nazionale - and I'm being kind here. Immobile, if he's really that good, should be counted among the top 5 strikers in the world... Immobile isn't even worthy of top 10, so let's not talk about how talent.

And I had a hearty laugh at the whole "Even when Immobile does not get on the scoresheet..." joke - good one!
on the 9th January, 2020 at 10:39am
This guy is not good enough for Nazionale
on the 9th January, 2020 at 10:37am
My big problem is that he doesn't score enough for Italy. 10 goals in 39 games is absolutely dismal. So, what's going to happen is that Mancini will absolutely have to call him up (he can't not, given his serie A goalscoring), and then at crunch time in some major tournament, he will go sorely missing. Actually, kind of like Mancini himself when he used to play....!
on the 9th January, 2020 at 10:17am

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