Monday Apr 23, 2018  
  28/08/2015: Preview: Chievo - Lazio
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Despite their loss earlier this week to Leverkusen in the Champions League playoff, all is not lost for Lazio. In fact, Lazio have nothing but good things to look forward to; they have learned their fate in the Europa League and will be playing much needed mid-week European football, they see themselves already in the last 16 of the Coppa Italia and will be hoping for a late run, and lastly, Sunday’s are upon them in Serie A, Lazio will be thriving to have another solid campaign and show their opponents in Serie A that they are indeed for real. The mental fortitude of the squad will be immediately tested on Sunday at the Stadio Bentegodi against Chievo. Lazio must put the loss to Leverkusen to good use by drawing on what must be improved, if Lazio can take anything away from the Leverkusen tie it is the speed and pressure that the Germans imposed on them. Although Serie A is not built for this type of game, which is a pity because it is fun and exciting to watch, if Lazio can impose pressure continuously on their opponents in Italy, even the best and most calculated of defences will crack.

Chievo are off to a good start in Serie A as they were victorious in their first match against Empoli by a score of 3-1. Paloschi and Meggiorini will likely once again be starting up front for Chievo and will be looking to add to their goal tallies, they are both experienced strikers who can turn a slight defensive error into a goal; Lazio cannot afford any mental lapses in judgement, defensive communication will be crucial. Chievo will also likely deploy Birsa and Castro on the flanks, their runs must be neutralized by the Lazio midfield and their balls into the box must be dealt with attentively. Lazio and Chievo very often play out to draws, as was the case last season, but Lazio must find a way to get a ball or two past their former colleague Bizzarri, he always finds a way to shine against the Biancocelesti.

Lazio are also entering this match victorious last week in Serie A, 2-1 winners over Bologna. The first 24 minutes of the game Lazio played a beautiful brand of attacking football and were quickly up 2-0, with Kishna picking up a goal in his Serie A debut. However, from Kishna’s goal onwards, Lazio took their foot off the gas and allowed Bologna back into the match just before half time as they drew one back. Mental fortitude must be mentioned again, the two worst times to concede a goal are the last five minutes before the break and the first five minutes into the second half. Lazio do not have a good track record here so far this season and it would be nice to see this corrected. Lazio cannot afford to allow their opponents back into matches and potentially drop points, all of which are imperative.

Lazio will need to press Chievo and move forward with speed, look for Candreva and Anderson to set the tone. Let’s hope that Anderson decides that he wants to play this weekend, perhaps his confidence is down and bit, he must dig deep and find an answer quickly, he is a valuable resource for Lazio, when he is on so is Lazio. If Candreva and Anderson can involve Keita early on he will feel like he has a strong possibility of getting on the score sheet, this is the type of determination Keita needs to play with consistently. This is a telling match for Lazio against Chievo, one that all Laziali will be watching with eager anticipation. It is not what happens to a team that shapes them, but instead, how a team deals with what happens to them that will define them. The Lazio that we see on Sunday will set the stage for the team that we will be seeing for the duration of this campaign.

Forza Lazio!

Author: Michael Petricca
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