Lazio vs Parma: Post-Match Review
Benvenuto Laziali. The pressure was starting to build on Simone Inzaghi prior to the Parma game after back-to-back defeats in the last week. I think I speak on behalf of most Lazio fans when I say that the main issue has been the team’s inability to play with any intensity. This has also been nicknamed the ‘Black-Out’ period, which occurs in parts of some matches. This has resulted in fans requesting for change; the main noise on social media being to drop captain Senad Lulic in favor of Jony. The manager clearly felt different ways, however. In Inzaghi’s post-Cluj interview, he stated: “In the last two matches, we did not deserve to lose. We must learn to finish our chances after going up a goal.” If pointless horizontal passes are a thing of beauty, then, I for one do not want a part of it. My Lazio needs to find some guile – the inner fire that drives them – and hope that they will grasp it with both hands.
The selection for Parma saw the return of two key players in the likes of Ciro Immobile and Luis Alberto. Both players had involvement in seven goals between them before this match. The game started off in the usual pattern with Lazio getting out of the blocks early, the passing between the midfield three was short, sharp and most importantly with a purpose. The team looked energized and invigorated. In the 8th minute, Luis Alberto picked up the ball in midfield and spotted Immobile making a run off the shoulder of Simone Iacoponi. He played a perfectly weighted pass which the Italian striker slotted past Luigi Sepe. 1-0 to the home side. You’d think going in front would fill a team with confidence. Unfortunately, it was the opposite. The team looked rattled with their lead and the defensive unit started to back off Parma, inviting more and more pressure onto the team. Thomas Strakosha then had to pull off an excellent save in the 21st minute to keep the home side in front by showing his speed off the line to divert a shot from Matteo Darmian over the bar. Lazio managed to make it to the break holding on to their one-goal lead.
The second half has been the Achilles heel for Lazio over the past two fixtures and Inzaghi would need to earn his keep with a half time talk to focus the players. Whatever was said in the locker room certainly paid off. Lazio looked a different side in the second half forcing play onto Parma, with a large majority of attacks coming down the Lazio left. Immobile could have doubled his tally in the 48th minute if only his effort wasn’t directly down the throat of Sepe, who saved well. In the 63rd minute, Inzaghi made his first substitution of the night taking off Immobile for Felipe Caicedo. The decision probably coming as a bit of a surprise especially seeing as Roberto Mancini was in the stands. He was not impressed as he took a seat on the sidelines. Finally, in the 67th minute, the fans at the Stadio Olimpico could take a sigh of relief. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic clipped a ball over the top of the Parma defense towards Adam Marusic. The Montenegrin showing his strength and composure to hold off his man and tuck the ball over the line. 2-0. Milinkovic-Savic blew the opportunity to make it 3-0 on the night after getting on the end of a quick counter-attack, dragging his shot wide of goal.
At the final whistle, the score was 2-0 for Lazio. It wasn’t a complete performance but one which I am sure will ease the pressure off Inzaghi and fill my fellow Laziali with confidence going into the game with Inter Milan midweek.
Lazio vs Parma: Statistical Analysis
My Man of the Match had to go to Luis Alberto. The Spaniard topped passes completed for Lazio on the night and created chances. The picture below outlines his final third passes, highlighting how integral he is in ensuring Lazio play with continuity.
As you can see from the picture above, Luis Alberto had a great game, completing 95 out of his 103 passes successfully. A high percentage of his passes came within the final third, with a particular focus on play down the left channel.
Luis Alberto secured his third assist of the season tonight; the pass highlighted in yellow above. Lazio created 17 chances against Parma, showing that when they are on their game they can be a real force within the league and be a threat to anyone.
Another mention from tonight’s game has to go to Milinkovic-Savic who had the highest passing relationship with Alberto tonight. The two exchanging passes 18 times, which highlights their ability to create space for each other and shows good chemistry. Another good performance came from Joaquin Correa who completed 5 out of 6 take on’s. Stats like this are refreshing, especially considering the past two weeks where Lazio really has lacked the directness which is needed at times.
I hope you have enjoyed my take on this week’s game. As always, I look forward to hearing from fellow Laziali and calcio lovers; feel free to drop me your thoughts on the game @MattyLewis11 on Twitter