S.S. Lazio: 2020/21 Season Preview

Lazio finished with a fourth-place finish in the 2019/20 Serie A. At the mid-point of the season, Lazio saw themselves in second place and were in contention for the Scudetto. However, the season took an abrupt stop due to COVID-19 and altered the course of the season.

Prior to the stoppage, the Biancocelesti were in great form and were unbeaten in 21 straight matches. When the season resumed in June, Lazio struggled to continue where they left off in February and faltered down the latter stretch of the season. Significant injuries started to mount and with a lack of depth, it made Simone Inzaghi’s job more difficult in circumstances which no one expected.

While there will be regret in not winning the Scudetto when the chance presented itself, the goal of returning to the UEFA Champions League (following a 13-year absence) was finally accomplished. Additionally, back in December 2019, Inzaghi won his second Supercoppa Italiana with Lazio as they defeated Juventus 3-1; on an individual note, Ciro Immobile won the Capocannoniere Award and European Golden Shoe, cementing himself as one of the best players in not only Italy but all of Europe.

Lazio will face new challenges in the 2020/21 Serie A season and will aim to surprise many in the Champions League. The question is, with 2019/20 being as successful as it was, can the club build off their impressive season?

Summer Transfer Window Overview
Igli Tare, Source- Getty Images
Igli Tare, Source- Getty Images

Sporting Director Igli Tare has been a very active individual in the summer transfer market, searching for players who have characteristics that will fit Inzaghi’s style of play. Thus far, Lazio have acquired midfielder Gonzalo Escalante, goalkeeper Pepe Reina, left wing-back Mohamed Fares and the highly touted Fenerbaçhe and Kosovo striker, Vedat Muriqi.

Mohamed Fares / Spal, Source- Getty Images
Mohamed Fares / Spal, Source- Getty Images

Fares will provide Inzaghi a winger who suits his formation that will play high, join the attack and cross the ball in the box. Meanwhile, Muriqi is in his prime and has been regarded with a lot of upside. The forward has the ability to move the ball upfield and win aerial duels in the box; he will be an adequate player to support or replace Immobile.

Vedat Muriqi / Fenerbahçe S.K., Source- fenerbahcedergisi:org
Vedat Muriqi / Fenerbahçe S.K., Source- fenerbahcedergisi:org

While the club has done a decent job in the transfer market, they are yet to properly reinforce three positions: signing a left centre-back, a central midfielder, and a second striker. The transfer window is open until October 5th, so expect Lazio to be active as they attempt to bring more players in; signing two or three more experienced players should provide the needed depth to help Inzaghi.

Valon Berisha Joins Stade de Reims, Source- Stade de Reims
Valon Berisha Joins Stade de Reims, Source- Stade de Reims

The club has also been active in transferring players out. Valon Berisha, Milan Badelj, and Guido Guerrieri have been sold (to Stade de Reims, Genoa, and Salernitana respectively), while various other players have been sent out on loan. Furthermore, Felipe Caicedo and/or Bastos could still be leaving the club before the Summer Transfer Window comes to a conclusion (October 5, 2020).

Manager
Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio
Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio

Simone Inzaghi will be returning for his fifth season as Manager of Lazio. After the 2018/19 season, the club was uncertain if Inzaghi was to return as coach for the upcoming season. With Juventus and AC Milan deciding to go separate ways with their coaches, both teams became interested in the services of Inzaghi. However, the deal fell through and Inzaghi signed a new contract with Lazio. The Italian rewarded management with the return to the Champions League and proved that he is a top manager in football.

Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio
Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio

During Inzaghi’s time with Lazio and the squad that he’s inherited, the results have been impressive as he’s won two Supercoppa Italiana and a Coppa Italia in his four seasons as a manager. Additionally, he has been instrumental in helping players such as Immobile, Luis Alberto and Patric revitalize their careers.

Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio
Simone Inzaghi / S.S. Lazio, Source- Official S.S. Lazio

Inzaghi will hope to go into the season with the right players that will fit his 3-5-2 formation. So far, Lazio has done a decent job acquiring players such as Fares and Muriqi who both have the right characteristics and provide the coach options. With the addition of new players and current players such as Alberto, Immobile and Milinkovic-Savic returning, the coach will have a competitive squad.

Player to Watch
Ciro Immobile / S.S. Lazio, Source - Official S.S. Lazio
Ciro Immobile / S.S. Lazio, Source – Official S.S. Lazio

Lazio will be counting on Immobile once again as he led the team in goals last season. Since arriving at Lazio, the forward has progressed each year and so the same is expected this upcoming season. He won the Serie A scoring title with 36 goals and tied Gonzalo Higuain’s record of most goals scored in a season. The striker has been relied on the past four seasons and has finished as top scorer for his club each year. If Lazio is going to have any chance of finishing in the top four, then Lazio will need him to show the form that has made him successful in the past seasons.

Predicted Finish

After a poor 2018/19 season for Lazio, the club was able to follow up with a successful campaign in 2019/20. The club finished fourth place and achieved their main goal of qualifying for the Champions League; despite having an early exit from the UEFA Europa League and exiting in the round of eight in the Coppa Italia, they did manage to add to their trophy case by winning the Supercoppa Italiana against Juventus back in December. Lazio will look to build off their recent success in 2019/20 and hope that they can finish in a top-four place once again in Serie A, which would allow them to compete in the Champions League once again in 2021/22.