What Lazio Need for a Top 3 Finish in Serie A

By Admin -

As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day, and Lazio knows their return to the top will not happen overnight. After their recent loss to Hellas Verona, it was reported that manager Maurizio Sarri locked the players in the dressing room for an hour to have some choice words with his players. So, what was said? How can Lazio improve and return to the glory days of the 1990s when they won trophies and had golden boot-winning players?

It has been a familiar start to the season for Lazio as they currently sit in sixth place in Serie A, having won five, drawn three, and lost three of their opening 11 fixtures. They are within striking distance to mount an assault on the top three, but they have often found themselves on the cusp in recent years and failed to deliver. So, what can they do to take them to that next level to prevent them from falling into the same trap as they always appear to fall into? Here are three key areas that can help.


Consistency

This might seem an obvious choice, but Lazio needs to be more consistent. Not since the opening two games of the season have Lazio won back-to-back games, which shows their lack of consistency.

This has been even more apparent in their previous five matches as they have alternated between wins, draws, and defeats. They can be great one minute, like when they defeated reigning Serie A champions Inter convincingly by a scoreline of three goals to one. However, they followed up that win with an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Verona.

Lazio’s lack of draws this season shows they are not a team that is resilient and hard to beat. Most sides managed by Sarri are disciplined and solid at the back, but this does not appear to be the case with this Lazio team, as their 1-0 win over Fiorentina recently was their first clean sheet domestically this season, which brings about the next point.

A More Robust Defence

Lazio has shipped 19 goals from their opening 11 fixtures which is way more than any other team inside the top seven in Serie A. However, as previously mentioned, they did keep a clean sheet recently, so what did they do better, one could ask? Unfortunately, the truth is not a lot. Fiorentina had nine attempts at goal, and eight of them were off target.

Discipline has been a real issue for Sarri’s men this season. This is highlighted recently by the fact that they have committed more fouls than their opponents in their previous four league matches. It is strange, as, in European competition, this has not been a problem, and they have only conceded once from three games in the Europa League. However, looking at the stats from those three games, it is hard to pinpoint where the improvement has come from as they appear to have played the same way and been physical in those encounters.

Not Being Over Confident

It appears that when Lazio entered a matchup as the underdogs this season, they have done relatively well. However, when entering as favorites, they have not. Is this overconfidence? Arrogance? Or perhaps even crumbling under the pressure of expectations.

They started the season convincingly and picked up wins over Empoli and Spezia. However, they came crashing back down to earth following those wins with a 2-0 defeat to runaway leaders AC Milan. However, since then, they have constantly performed better against the better teams than the sides in the bottom half of the table.

Following the defeat to Milan, they failed to beat bottom-of-the-table Cagliari and then again were unable to beat Torino, who currently sit in 13th position in the table. They then entered the Rome derby against fierce rivals, Roma, with their backs against the wall but came out fighting and picked up a 3-2 victory. They would have been full of confidence entering the match with Bologna following their derby day win but Lazio were thumped 3-0 by the team currently occupying the tenth place. 

With their confidence short-lived, they entered the matchup against defending champions Inter, with many giving them no chance, but they proved the doubters wrong by putting in an assured performance on route to a 3-1 win. However, next up, it was another match against a team outside the top ten, and the result was the same, as they lost 4-1 to Verona. The last two performances against two teams inside the top ten (Fiorentina and Atalanta) have once again been quality, despite the last-minute goal conceded in Bergamo. 

You would usually associate these improvements with a team lacking experience, but with players such as Reina, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lucas Leiva, and Immobile, this is not the case for Lazio. The group appears to lack an identity and needs more balance. They need to attack and defend as a unit, and this seems disjointed at present. Lazio needs to be more solid at the back, but they know their adoring fans will not accept them sitting back and playing unattractive football.


Ultimately, Lazio have a squad of players that could threaten the top three this season, especially given that Inter and Juventus do not appear to be as strong this season. The opportunity is there, but can they learn from the last season and make the breakthrough? Only time will tell…

Tags Lazio Serie A