Manuel Lazzari: what the wing-back brings to Lazio
When Lazio began their 2018/19 campaign, the team had Ciro Immobile leading the lines, Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic controlling the center of the park, veteran Senad Lulic working hard up and down the left flank, Francesco Acerbi as a reliable defender in the backline, and Thomas Strakosha in goal. The main issue was evident: this was the right wing-back position.
Throughout the year, Simone Inzaghi kept trying different alternatives, but no one was ever able to give the manager what he envisioned. These were the likes of Adam Marusic, Patric, and Romulo. While the Serbian was the designated starter – after a terrific 2017/18 outing – he had little competition to force him to stay on top of his game. Despite showing that he could run hard, move the ball up, and join back with the defense, his dribbling and ability to cross the ball into the box was rarely efficient and effective. When Lazio had possession of the ball in the opposition’s area, there were countless one-on-one battles on the right side of the pitch that resulted in turnovers; his crosses into the box were rarely on target which resulted in a lack of scoring opportunities.
Looking to invest, this past summer, Lazio finally found the player that Inzaghi had been looking for. Someone who would fit his 3-5-1-1 formation, the club acquired Spal’s Manuel Lazzari.
After continuous talks between the two Italian clubs, Lazio managed to finalize a deal which finally brought a player which will be suitable for Inzaghi’s style of play. Given the fact that the club doesn’t have the biggest budget to acquire players, management was able to fulfill their job as they found a player who has the right characteristics. After acquiring the winger from Spal, Lazio quickly signed him to a five-year contract.
It was a very important signing for the Biancocelesti which should help this season as, in 2018-2019, it was an ongoing problem that needed reassurance. With the arrival of Lazzari, the team should expect a significant increase in talent on the right side. Simone Inzaghi prefers an attack-minded type of game where he focuses on the central midfielders and wingers building up the play and moving the ball quickly. Lazzari has those skills and attributes which will assist the Lazio coach.
Lazzari is a very energetic player who can join the attack up field and also can get back to assist the defense. The Italian’s strengths are dribbling, crossing the ball, making key passes and good concentration. The key traits that the forward will deliver to Lazio are his crossing and dribbling as these were two areas last season that were weak on the right-wing. The ability to cross the ball into the box will now open up the game for Lazio. In the previous season, players such as Marusic were unable to cross the ball into the box and would lose countless battles against the opposition.
In the first two games of the season, it was evident what the forward from Spal will bring to the team. He opened up the field, made good short passes into the midfield and crossed the ball into the box to create chances for his teammates, which gave Inzaghi that player that he’s been missing for a while. In his first game with Lazio against Sampdoria, Lazzari found Lulic in the box with a beautiful cross which resulted in an opportunity for the Biancocelesti. The forward created countless opportunities involving his teammates and also had quality shots on net, yet he was unable to score.
Although he’s not known to find the back of the net, his ability to open up the field and create chances for his teammates is what he’s been known for. In his time with Spal, his overall passing completion was 83% and he averaged two crosses per game. This is something that Lazio will benefit from compared to last year and will be an improvement going into the 2019-2020 season.
Finally, Inzaghi has been delivered a player that he will not only covet but will utilize to his full advantage for his squad. Players such as Immobile and Milinkovic-Savic will benefit as they prefer to play in the box, have a good reach for the ball and the ability to win one on one battles. Lazzari may just be who Lazio has been looking for and this could help the team finally qualify for a spot into Champions League.