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Monday October 19 2020
Lazio: Inzaghi not the only one guilty

Simone Inzaghi’s gamble against Sampdoria didn’t pay off but the coach is not the only one to be blamed for the Biancocelesti’s poor start to the season, writes Lee Bushe.

Things can change so quickly in football. Less than a year ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Lazio fan who wasn’t optimistic for the future. The Biancocelesti were on a 21-game unbeaten run, were challenging with Juventus for the Scudetto and seemed to be on the verge of securing Champions League qualification for the first time in over a decade.

Fast forward to the present, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Lazio fan who isn’t pessimistic about the future. The Biancocelesti’s unbeaten run was ended post-lockdown, and their form took a nosedive, ending their Scudetto chances. Gaps in the squad were identified: Lazio needed better defenders, more strength-in-depth and someone to replace the ageing Senad Lulic on the left-wing. Only one of these gaps were filled ahead of the new season.

Predictably, Lazio’s disastrous post-lockdown form has continued into the current season, with the club currently sitting 14th in the league with just one win from their four opening games. Their most recent game - against Sampdoria - resulted in a 3-0 loss. It was a sorry affair, with Simone Inzaghi’s side showing little fight as the Blucerchiati cruised to a resounding victory.

The game seemed cursed from the beginning. Capoconniere holder Ciro Immobile was suspended, while six players were out with injuries. Perhaps most alarmingly, Inzaghi’s first-choice wing-backs - Lulic and Manuel Lazzari - were among the six. This was a major issue as Lazio’s other full-backs Adam Marusic and Mohamed Fares - were not in a condition to be starting the game.

Unwilling to deviate from his 3-5-2 formation, Inzaghi started Marco Parolo and Djavan Anderson on the wings. Putting it frankly, a wing-back Parolo is not; he’s a central midfielder in his mid-thirties. As for Anderson - who’s spent most of his career playing in the Italian and Dutch second divisions - it is questionable whether he’s good enough for a team who qualified for the Champions League last season.

Inzaghi’s gamble didn’t pay off and the pair were substituted for Marusic and Fares at half-time. This wasn’t entirely the manager’s fault of course, blame can also be attributed to Claudio Lotito for failing to provide Lazio with the strength-in-depth they required in the summer. And you could argue that the outcome of the game could’ve been different had Lotito done that.

What Inzaghi’s gamble revealed, however, is his tactical stubbornness, and this could be a big problem should Lazio’s injury problems persist. Playing a 34-year old central midfielder and a Serie B-standard player on the wings was never going to work.

Another aspect that Lotito should’ve adequately addressed during the summer was the defence. His failure to do that is probably part of the reason why Lazio have conceded eight goals in their last three games. Wesley Hoedt isn’t the solution to that problem; he’s just another subpar centre-back in a squad that’s full of them.

Hoedt does deserve some sympathy though. He was at fault for Fabio Quagliarella’s opening goal, but he hasn’t played a minute of competitive football since March. Did Inzaghi really expect him to be at his sharpest?

And in fairness to Hoedt, he was no worse than any other Lazio player on the pitch. In fact, the entire team seemed to be lacking in determination and confidence, issues which were probably made worse after the result on Saturday.

With the transfer window now shut, it’s difficult to foresee how Lazio can rescue their season. There’s no way the Biancocelesti can simultaneously compete in the Serie A and the Champions League with a squad this thin - injuries or not.

And if you asked any Lazio fan what they’d prefer: another top-four finish or a good European campaign, they’d pick the former. They shouldn’t have to. Lotito should’ve built a side capable of building from last seasons successes, but now it seems they’re regressing. It gets to the point where you have to question whether Lotito has taken Lazio are far as they can go with him.

@leecalcio

Have your say...
Yeah rubbish Lazio, only 3-1 Dortmund, not good at all. Useless squad, terrible signings. Might as well give up now
on the 21st October, 2020 at 2:25pm
Massive LAZIO fan i am happy with Inzaghi he has brought us trophies. Yes we have started badly in SERIE A etc but i am confident we will kickstart our season soon. I hope we can get top 4 again i want regular champions league qualification instead of 1 season. Main aim is top 4 finish and hopefully coppa italia cup.
on the 21st October, 2020 at 2:09pm
I personally respect that a club in Italian hands has managed to achieve what Lazio did the last +decade. They have bought world class players that improved the clubs image nationally and internationally, Klose, Immobile, Alberto, Leiva, Correa, Acerbi, Lazzari etc. etc. I think there is a lot more to come form the Prima Squadra della Capitale. Lotito is a business man and I think he has the best interest when it comes to Lazio as a football club. Let's see what the future brings:-).
on the 21st October, 2020 at 8:18am
I don't fully agree with this article. Although Simone Inzaghi is not to blame I also don't think we can blame Lotito. Why? Lazio is coming from far, far away. When Lotito took over Lazio was a financial disaster on the verge of bankruptcy. In the last 16 seasons Lazio has won 3 Coppa Italia's and 3 Supercoppa's. They are one of the few if not only club in Italy that manages to book a profit, without any rich investor behind them.
on the 21st October, 2020 at 8:11am
You could see this coming a mile away. The same thing happened to Torino when they qualified for Europe and didn't invest. Hopefully they can hold on until January. It's not Inzaghi's fault. The lack of ambition comes from above. A lot of clubs in Italy are looking to grow revenue but Lazio seem to stay as they are. Milan built a good squad on a limited budget. Lazio buy the odd good player but in the main, their transfer plan was laughable. Are they really so stubborn to think they did enough!
on the 20th October, 2020 at 6:54am
Lazio and Lotito have been pretty lucky as they have had Simone Inzaghi as a coach. Considering the depth and quality of the players Lazio have, they look like a mid table team. How many years they have kept Lulic and Radu?! Without Simone Inzaghi, Champions League was a quite dream for Lazio.
on the 19th October, 2020 at 9:31pm
I agree with this article. Regarding lotito having taken them as far as he can, would a new wealthier owner for arguments sake not face the same restrictions on the transfer market, in terms of financial fair play and only being able spend within the confines of the clubs financial parameters. In other words they could have the wealthiest owner in the world but he wouldn’t be able spend his own money?
on the 19th October, 2020 at 8:18pm

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