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  30/09/2015: Preview: Lazio - Saint-Etienne
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Lazio return home to Rome to face St. Etienne at the Stadio Olimpico for their second UEFA Europa League match. Lazio drew their first match away to Dnipro in the Ukraine by a score of 1-1, with the Dnipro equalizer coming late in injury time. St. Etienne also drew their first Europa League fixture to Rosenborg by a score of 2-2. This is a balanced group that may come down to the winner moving forward by virtue of goal differential.

Lazio have erased the shameful display to Napoli with two successive wins in Serie A, 2-0 over Genoa and 2-1 over Hellas in a come from behind victory. The mid-week schedule due to the commitments of the Europa League may in fact be large reason to Lazio’s inability to find consistency, travel, fatigue and constant roster changes can all add up. This will not get any easier for Lazio as they return to Serie A action on Sunday to take on newly promoted Frosinone.

St. Etienne are coming off a 4-1 loss to Nice in League 1 action the last time out, this will be a defeat that the group will be looking to make amends for. Lazio need to look further than this result as St. Etienne are a strong side and sit second in the League 1 table, four points adrift of French giants PSG. St. Etienne are a young side and possess a strong amount of speed, Lazio can easily be caught off guard if they do not pay close attention to this.

Lazio will still be without several players due to injury including Klose and De Vrij who will likely not be available until after the international break. Candreva and Matri are close and could be a game time decision, Pioli may choose to give them a few more days recovery and training time to have them both available at full 100% fitness for the Frosinone match. Biglia is of course fully fit and made a triumphant return to the Lazio starting eleven the last time out against Hellas picking up a goal from the spot and an assist on Parolo’s goal from a set piece just outside of the Hellas box.

Fitness and rest are key factors to success in the long season that Lazio currently find themselves in. The way in which they approach each game tactically must be applied in the same manner by all who find themselves on the pitch, this is the job that Pioli faces. We should see several new faces feature for Lazio allowing others to rest and recover. Berisha should start in goal, Radu should return to the left back position, Hoedt and Gentiletti should feature in the middle and we may see Patric pick up some rare playing time at right back in favour of Basta.

Biglia and Parolo played well together the last time out for Lazio and it was clear that the pair have chemistry in the centre of the park; it is visible when one is missed. Perhaps both may start again for Lazio to continue to build on this chemistry and take momentum into their next match; Onazi and Cataldi may also feature and are laying in the waits. Kishna and Anderson should pick up time on the flanks for Lazio, Kishna will need to continue to work hard in search of the form that he is capable of.

In the centre play maker role behind the lone striker of the 4-2-3-1 formation that Pioli likes to field it should be Savic, he has been playing well and he needs to continue to pick up minutes to gain experience and confidence to grow, Mauri is also available to play in this role should Pioli choose to call on him. One of either Keita or Djordjevic should start as the lone striker in attack for Lazio in this match; Keita should be slightly favoured as Djordjevic has started twice in a row since his return from injury. This is a great opportunity for Lazio to put together a string of wins before the international break, fully expect to see a side determined to deliver a victory and a group performance that will be worthy of building on.

Forza Lazio!
Author: Michael Petricca
 
 
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