Monday Mar 27, 2017  
     
 
  19/05/2015: Coppa Italia Preview: Juventus - Lazio
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Lazio return to Rome on Wednesday to host Serie A Champions, Juventus, in the Coppa Italia final. This matched was moved forward from June 7th as a result of Juventus making the Champions League final on June 6th against Barcelona, a great achievement for Italian football and the Bianconeri should be applauded for their accomplishment. As a result of the Lazio Juventus Coppa Italia final being moved forward, the Rome derby will be pushed back a day and played on Monday June 1st. Lazio will enter this match against Juventus short-handed once again, the squad truly believes in their quality and they are all in unison in order to bring home some hardware into the trophy cabinet.

Lazio will be fortunate enough to welcome back some familiar faces, Marchetti should return to his starting position in goal in favour of Berisha. In the centre of defence for Lazio, we may see De Vrij and Mauricio paired together for the first time in weeks, De Vrij featured against Sampdoria on Saturday for a portion of the match and he may pick up a start here, he needs the playing time to get back to full match fitness. Gentiletti and Ciani both filled in well last time out against Sampdoria but it is unlikely that either will start against Juventus, provided that De Vrij is ready to start and play the full match. On the left and right hand sides of defence for Lazio we will likely see Basta and Radu, both men deserve to start in a match of such significance but it shouldn’t be ruled out for Cavanda and Braafheid to also feature in an attempt by Pioli to keep legs fresh for the derby showdown.

In midfield for Lazio, if Pioli is able to field his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation expect him to do so, this will also likely be the formation we see against Roma. Biglia is not able to play so perhaps Pioli may field Ledesma and Parolo back in the deeper midfield role, Ledesma played well against Sampdoria and he is a figurehead of the organization. The three men front in the more attacking midfield roles could perhaps be Mauri in the centre, partnered by Lulic on the left and perhaps Onazi or Cataldi on the right, just a suspicion but a viable one nonetheless. Up front for Lazio, we should see Klose in the middle leading the charge, Djordjevic should show and put in a good amount of time, him now being healthy gives Lazio options in attack. On the right and left hand sides up front it will without question be Candreva and Anderson starting, they were the two most visible players the last time out for Lazio. If Lazio have any chance of achieving a result and breaking down the impenetrable Juventus back line, both Candreva and Anderson will need to be the difference.

This is a final for a piece of hardware in Italian soccer that Lazio have really earned, it was a road well-travelled to reach the final for the Biancocelesti and Lazio found a way to make it happen. With Juventus on the verge of a potential treble, they will surely enter this match with extreme focus and determination. Winning the Coppa Italia is of course a desired result for Lazio, but the group must understand that if they do not beat Juventus that everything is still to play for, Champions League qualification is the prize for the Biancocelesti. In a match as such, were Lazio are not the favourite, it is a good opportunity for the team to go out and show their fortitude and play in a manner that they want to against Roma, is this looking ahead? Yes, indeed it is; this is an opportunity for Lazio to enter the field of play with a clear mind and attempt to impose and compound the style of football they wish to play in the derby and against Napoli in the final week of Serie A football. Lazio will need to be compact in defence and as creative as possible in attack against Juventus, both matches played against Juventus this year have not yielded a goal for Lazio, one here is a victory in itself, why not now!

Forza Lazio!
Author: Michael Petricca
 
 
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