Saturday July 4 2020
A step too far for Lazio

Even comeback kings Lazio couldn’t turn this one around, as Giancarlo Rinaldi saw their lack of strength in depth finally catch up with them against Milan.

There are only so many times you can go to the well. No team more than Lazio has shown the spirit and character needed to turn around a game this season, but in the end, that effort takes its toll. The emotional strain - and the absence of their star striker - was probably enough to kill off an already ailing title dream.

Context is a curious beast, isn’t it? Juventus have done nothing but win in the league since the resumption of hostilities and yet their fans are still less than enamoured with a Coach who looks likely to deliver yet another Scudetto. In the capital, despite being humbled by Milan, the Biancocelesti faithful can still appreciate the efforts of Simone Inzaghi. His team has had a wonderful season no matter how it should conclude.

The signs were there, perhaps, of this bad night looming for Lazio in the way their form has slumped since Serie A returned. A defeat to Atalanta - the division’s most in-form side at the moment - was nothing to be ashamed of. But having to come from behind against struggling Fiorentina and Torino was probably more alarming. In the end, if you give teams enough chances, one of them will eventually be good enough see you off.

Up stepped Milan in the role of killjoys and in the process confirmed that they appear to be one of the sides which has benefited most from sport’s unwanted intermission. Stefano Pioli has been working away with the materials he has got - some of undoubted quality - and has crafted a decent side. They did not have to be breathtaking to win on Saturday night, but it felt like the kind of game they could very easily have messed up in times gone by.

There was a sense and balance to their display which had often been missing in the opening chapters of this season. If they can keep going in this style, there is no reason to think they will not secure themselves a European place. They still feel a bit of an odd bunch at times, but there is no doubting that they have some quality performers in their squad when they put their minds to it.

Back in Rome, it is a case now of making sure they don’t let their season unravel completely. They might not have what it takes to challenge Juve - unless the Bianconeri suffer a surprising collapse - but they can still see off their rivals for second place, Inter and Atalanta. It would be a shame if this impressive season were not to end up with a deserved silver medal for their efforts so far.

This game was an example, of course, of where all of the Turin giant’s challengers generally fall down. Nobody can really rival them in terms of the strength of squad that they have built up over the years and - even if they don’t always play particularly well - they can usually pluck someone from the bench to see them through. Without Ciro Immobile and, to a much lesser extent, Felipe Caicedo - there was nothing much for Lazio to call on. Joaquin Correa kept himself very socially distant from Gigio Donnarumma in the Milan goal.

With some wise investment - and retaining their current stars - they could still become even more serious contenders for the title, but that is a hard ask. It seems that all Juve’s would-be rivals suffer from both seeing their best players depart and a lack of the financial firepower to sign up the depth they need. Even though their own fans have found them underwhelming at times this year, La Vecchia Signora is still going to saunter off with another Scudetto by the looks of it.

As for Milan, much of the same discourse is valid. They have a group of good individuals and, at last, they are starting to play as a team. However, they too will need a smart transfer campaign if they hope to really return to where they belong in the years to come. This is a good side, but followers of the Rossoneri are used to a little more than Europa League qualification.

That’s the hardest thing for the rest of Serie A in the face of a steamroller that keeps crushing their dreams. Too many teams have hoped to catch Juve overnight when the advantage the Bianconeri have built up has been constructed over many seasons. Both Lazio and Milan have got some decent foundations to keep themselves up at the top end of the table for some time to come. It is up to them to use them wisely and not knock them down - as so often happens in Italy - at the very first sign of a setback.

Giancarlo Rinaldi is the author of a number of books about Italian football. You can find out more about them here.

Have your say...
As a lazio fan we need to have better players on the BENCH and PLAN B. we can challenge for SCUDETTO but it depends on Loitto Plans etc. WE must now win remaining games and finish 2th or 3rth place. WE MUST now every season finish top 4 for champion league etc and Invest that CASH properly. Don't think AC MILAN OR ROMA will be a threat to top 4 finish for a while.
on the 9th July, 2020 at 4:01pm
Blah blah Blah again, who cares. Milan deserved the win today. In a way it’s even because I believe when we played them to get to the Coppa final, and lost lol, they were missing Hernandez and some other players. We were missing de Ligt and Dybala our two main guys at the moment. Not taking anything away from Milan but leaving Bonucci with a player like rugani is also suicide lol, now coming to think of it. Either way good game guys. Milan gave the finger to Lazio and juve killing the week lol
on the 8th July, 2020 at 1:35am
@Pinturicchio. 4-2. But admittedly Juve were not trying very hard since they have the scudetto wrapped up. Still, there were many upset faces at the end. I guess being sore winners is not just a Juve fan thing.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 10:01pm

Try reading a book once in a while instead of hanging out on 4chan and making juvenile attempts at insults.

If you have the faculty, which I seriously doubt given your lack of an educated response, I suggest checking the UEFA League coefficients and how Juventus' standalone performance in Europe for over a decade whilst every Italian club rolled in the hay is the main reason why Italy still has 3+1 and have kept the French League at bay.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 9:47pm
@Pinturicchio. Such anger. How old are you? 12? 13? It's a long way from 3+1 to 2+2. I know where the Milan clubs are. I'd still bet on them to win the UCL again before Juve does.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 7:27pm
@ACMilanIdiot Only reason Italy has 3 direct entries + 1 via playoffs, and not 2+2, is because of Juventus flying Italy's tricolore high, despite Napoli, Roma, Lazio et al purposefully sabotaging their chances in the UCL/UEL year after year. They regularly waved the white flag even before finishing the group stages. Notice I didn't mention either of the pathetic Milan cousins, because they're both archaic dinosaurs with little relation to the past decade. Be quiet and go back to your FM/FIFA.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 2:57am
Yes yes we know you won 7 blah blah but you are non existent now. Move along lol
on the 6th July, 2020 at 10:07pm
@Pinturicchio. Unless PSG wins like three CLs in a row I don't think Italy seriously risks falling out of the top 4. The only top 4 league that regularly sees it's 4 CL clubs go deep in the competition is the EPL. Spain, which is #1 in the coefficient is #1 because Madrid and Barca are regularly either in the semis, final or champions. So really losing coefficient is not about the Lazios qualifying 4th and then dropping out, it's about the Juventuses reaching the final and never winning. ACM7UCL
on the 6th July, 2020 at 7:49pm
Despite all that is happening at Lazio, I do like S. Inzaghi. The guy is very talented but he cant do it alone!! I am sure he will be Juve's next coach..
on the 6th July, 2020 at 1:30pm
I've been saying this for as long as I can remember. Lazio are fine, but they need to sell SMS to fund squad depth. I knew this day would come where they would be beaten by a lesser team (Milan) and all it's taken is for 2 players to be out. That's not a squad that's equipped to challenge for a scudetto or push for a European cup. Juve have got enough squad depth to play 2 matches at once, it really is that ridiculous. If you don't have squad depth, early season form is pretty much pointless.
on the 6th July, 2020 at 10:58am
And inter is still trash...
on the 6th July, 2020 at 9:44am
(Part 3/3)

Finally, investing in the club, and thinking of it as a dream and not a personal kitty to buy an XboX One / PS5.

This requires setting up a good Primavera, having good local and international scouts, encouraging new players to sign with a vision for the long-term, instead of selling them anecdotes about Maradona (Napoli) or a league title 2+ decades back (Lazio).

Hard work, isn't it?

Look at the waist sizes of Failtito and Lamentiis, and that of Agnelli. You catch my drift?
on the 6th July, 2020 at 6:12am
(Part 2/2)

Then there's the league coefficient - every year, these scummy clubs drop out of UCL/UEL so that they can concentrate on Scudetto, which they cannot win because the club doesn't have the talent required to win matches. Yes, Napoli and Lazio cannot afford Douglas Costa and Leonardo Bonucci, but increased revenue (from competing in UCL/UEL) will help these thug clubs attract better talent.

But when clubs want to make a quick buck instead of generating revenue, why are you surprised?
on the 6th July, 2020 at 6:04am
@Anonymous about lotito, de laurentis and others

Yes, there is.

First of all, every decent/top club has its own stadium - all these so-called provincial clubs crib about not having the means to bankroll such an initiative. They can, if they have the cojones. That's it - they won't, because that requires business acumen, and not being able to profit short-term. What's easier - taking risks and waiting long-term, or cribbing everyday and making a quick buck every term?

(Part 1/2)
on the 6th July, 2020 at 5:50am
we regularly hear lotito, de laurentis and others state they have less financial power than Juve. I understand this but have these presidents ever been pressed whether they have any initiatives/ideas on how to increase their clubs finances. If their stadiums are non runners is there anything else the management of these clubs can do?
on the 5th July, 2020 at 9:28pm
@SackSarri. Totally agree. I think the top 4 next season are Juve, Inter, Napoli and Atalanta. Lazio, Roma and Milan will fight it out for 5th and 6th.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 6:31pm
No unnecessary juve bashing? I meant
on the 5th July, 2020 at 5:41pm
No unnecessary Juve ? Hmmmmm hahahaha
on the 5th July, 2020 at 3:38pm
Depth. We are talking about a side who purposely got knocked out of EL so they only had to play every 7 days. Think what that does for the Italinan UEFA co-efficient? Will they do the same next year in the CL? I always felt Juventus would win the league again this year and I am glad for the above reason that Lazio will not. Only for the virus they would have a better chance, but then again if any club in the top 6 ignored all other competitions they would seriously push for a top 4 league finish
on the 5th July, 2020 at 1:01pm
If you have to say "but if" you don't deserve to win the scudetto. I really wanted Lazio to be in touching distance so their meeting with Juve would've have been a show down.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 12:10pm
Lazio would have won the league if they had been only playing once a week, as they were pre-covid. No shame in having a weakened team due to injuries and suspensions, let's see if Milan make such an effort against Juve next week. Our objective was Champions League this season, let no one tell you otherwise, and in a normal year this points tally would probably be enough to win the league. UCL and Ciro taking the European golden boot and Higuains record will be enough for me.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 10:17am
Here we go again, creating an alibi for not playing better. Lazio were totally gassed during their 2nd game back, the second game!

Good God, they are clearly over exerting themselves in training so instead of making up excuses about having less money or less squad depth they should focus on sorting out a really glaringly obvious issue so as to get their season back on track.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 9:55am
lazio squad just isnt deep enough. the teams that are in europe continuously knows how to play every 3 or 4 days. but i think people have to give Sarri credit. he got ronaldo and dybala to play together.lets not forget allegri solution was to play dybala from the bench and insist that ronaldo could only play with mandzukic. this season Sarri has dybala playing as a false nine and kept drilling with him not to come deep to collect the ball and he has benefited.juve overall has been playing better
on the 5th July, 2020 at 8:20am
Overachieving provincial side tried to push their luck too far - it was always gonna end badly.

Lotito is the venereal disease plaguing Calcio - he's what is disgusting about upper management in every sense of the term. If you despise Mino Raiola for the leech he is, then you'll wish you'd have never stepped in the same space as that despicable cretin Lotito.

I remember another scum provincial side who aspired to beat Juventus, only to fall flat on their face every time.

on the 5th July, 2020 at 8:18am
Lazio is a bit unlucky to be up against a freight train like Juventus. Otherwise, they would've had a good chance to win the scudetto. For a provincial side, they're having a great season, but if anyone thinks they can build on this or grow, they're deluding themselves. They don't have the budget or attraction of a top club. Talented players are also thinking twice to go there because they know Lotito won't let them leave if a top club comes knocking.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 7:28am
It would have been a ‘miracle’ if Lazio had won the scudetto. It all comes down to money. Juventus have money. Lazio do not have as much.
Serie A must get the stadiums done. Palotta is desperate to sell Roma because of the inability of the Local Council in Rome to get the necessary permissions for the stadium confirmed. The same is happening in Florence. Modernize the facilities, start making more money, improve the product.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 7:20am
Seems Lazio can’t compete with a tight schedule and they won’t finish in the top 4 next season (UCL fixture will be similar and cost more energy).
on the 5th July, 2020 at 3:43am
Lazio's squad is pretty average overall, so it's no surprise they seem to have fallen away. Their only hope now is a Juve slip up and to beat Juve away.

The real worry is that Juve, who have played badly for most of the season, are clear at the top again and heading for 9-in-a-row.

It just shows how weak the league is when a team that has played poorly for most of the season is now 7 points clear.

Serie A really needs Inter to put up a fight next season, and maybe Atalanta too.
on the 5th July, 2020 at 12:50am
as blog writer points out it is lazio lack of depth which hurt lazio and ruined their tittle chances not milan.

in 5 years in terms of transfer balance they spent 10 million net and that is not even accounting for a tight wage budget. How are supposed to compete for tittles with no real funds put into the team. if they had a decent academy fine but they don't the best players in recent years has been kieta, scamacca and strakosha. it has been a amazing effort but reality has caught up
on the 4th July, 2020 at 11:14pm

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