An early second-half goal from Pedro was the difference as Lazio won 1-0 versus Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico. It was a beautiful team effort that started from the backend with Pepe Reina and followed with precise passes and great movement from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ciro Immobile and Pedro.
The win moved Lazio to sixth-place with 17 points and they trail fourth-place AS Roma by two points, who occupy the final spot for the UEFA Champions League.
So, what did we learn from Lazio’s 1-0 win versus Fiorentina?
Lazio Earn Their First Clean Sheet in Serie A This Season
Lazio earned their first clean sheet in Serie A this season versus Fiorentina as a result of a strong defensive performance. Their backend consisted of Adam Marusic, Francesco Acerbi, Luiz Felipe and Manuel Lazzari, who performed well together and this was the first time these four players started together this season.
Lazzari and Marusic showed good pace down the flanks and were effective in the attack as well. Meanwhile, Acerbi and Luiz Felipe made their return to the lineup after serving their suspension. They immediately made an impact as they were physical, made timely interceptions and won key challenges. Lazio has conceded the most goals of the top nine clubs and this was an area that became a concern.
Fiorentina were limited to very few chances as Reina needed to make one save. Dusan Vlahovic had a quiet game as he had 24 touches and four shots, with none hitting the target. He was hardly effective as Lazio did a good job of taking him out of this match.
Lazio won’t always be able to score multiple goals and tonight it was the defense that stepped up.
Luis Alberto Responds to Critics
In recent times, Lazio midfielder, Luis Alberto, has been one of the main headlines as the Spaniard has been rumoured to leave this season. In the past three matches, Luis Alberto has started on the bench while Toma Basic and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro have started in his place.
Sarri has publicly stated that Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic cannot play together at the same time on the pitch as he doesn’t see them suiting each other. However, in their press conference before the Fiorentina match, Sarri had voiced a different opinion towards Luis Alberto.
“There are times of the season when the needs of the individual are not the same as the team. We hope to solve our problems, so we can afford Luis Alberto in the field,” said Sarri in his pre-press conference versus Fiorentina.
Luis Alberto returned to the starting lineup versus Fiorentina and had a tremendous performance. The Spaniard was effective at both ends of the pitch where he created chances, covered plenty of space in the midfield and tracked back on multiple occasions to assist the defense. The attitude from the midfielder was positive as he responded well and showed that he may be willing to adapt to Sarri’s style of play.
Early in the first half, Luis Alberto showed why he is known as the magician. He made a brilliant key pass towards Immobile and created a quality scoring chance, yet he was unable to convert. This was a part of Lazio’s game that has been missed in recent matches.
Luis Alberto finished the match with two key passes, one aerial duel won, one successful dribble and one interception.
Lazio Rebound Following 4-1 Loss to Hellas Verona
After a disappointing loss this past weekend from Lazio at the Bentegodi versus Hellas Verona, the home side followed up with a better effort and put forth a wonderful performance. It was a win that Lazio vitally needed after dropping points in two of their past three matches versus Bologna and Verona. It was a collective team effort and players such as Immobile, Alberto, Milinkovic-Savic and Acerbi made key plays when needed.
The Biancocelesti have been inconsistent this season where they’ve managed to beat top tier clubs such as Inter and Roma, yet dropped points versus mid-table clubs Bologna and Verona.
Losses versus Bologna and Verona were their worst performances this season and, as a result, Lazio initiated a ritiro this past Sunday. The club was at the Formello training ground the past three days in order to focus on improving results, allow the team to bond, solve any problems that exist and try to turn their season around. While it’s still early to tell if this will benefit Lazio, early indications point in a positive direction as they’ve started with a win versus Fiorentina.
Now Lazio will need to perform well on a consistent basis and have to follow up with the same mentality versus Atalanta on Saturday.