Lazio Can’t Underestimate Napoli Despite Recent Form & Absence of Key Players | OneFootball
Lazio Can’t Underestimate Napoli Despite Recent Form & Absence of Key Players
It has been a decent start to the season for Lazio under new manager Maurizio Sarri as they have experienced both highs and lows. The Biancocelesti started the season with two straight wins yet followed up with a loss versus AC Milan. This was a setback and they were reminded that they are clearly in a transition period.
Lazio followed up with wins versus Roma and Inter yet suffered defeats to Bologna and Hellas Verona. After their loss versus Verona, the club went into a ritiro as their performances had been inconsistent and poor. As a result, the Biancocelesti have followed up with a better effort, have shown the willingness to fight for each other, and, most importantly, have delivered improved results.
Since going into ritiro, Lazio has a record of three wins, two draws, and one loss across all competitions. They remain five points back of Atalanta, who are in fourth place and occupy the final spot for the Champions League. Lazio finishing in a top-four spot remains the goal this season, regardless if they are in a transition period under Sarri.
While there are several matches to be played this season, their upcoming match versus Napoli is pivotal. The Partenopei are having a very good season under new manager Luciano Spalletti as they sit in first place and have lost once in their first 13 matches in the Serie A.
While they were defeated for the first time this season in the league, they also lost two key players – Victor Osimhen and Zambo Anguissa. They have been key contributors to their success and will definitely be missed in this contest, however, Lazio can not underestimate Napoli even without two of their top players. They have quality depth and several players who have the ability to be difference makers. Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens and Hirving Lozano are a few players who can score goals in key moments.
Furthermore, Lazio has struggled as the visitor, where they have won once in their past six matches in Napoli. Whether the team has not been in the right mindset or has had a fortune of bad luck, Lazio need to be better when they are not playing at the Stadio Olimpico; Lazio have played nine away fixtures this season in all competitions and have managed to only win twice. However, they won 3-0 on Thursday in Russia versus FC Lokomotiv Moscow and this could be a turning point in their season in this aspect. It should give Lazio some needed confidence in their ability to win away from the Stadio Olimpico.
In Lazio’s recent match versus Juventus, Lazio were without their lead striker, Ciro Immobile. They struggled offensively as they mustered one shot on target and created very few scoring attempts. The Biancocelesti lined up four different attacking tridents with none really posing a problem for Juventus’ backend. However, in their recent match versus Lokomotiv, Immobile returned to the lineup and had an immediate impact as he scored a brace.
The Biancocelesti looked more in sync and were organized versus Lokomotiv in the Europa League. Lazio are a completely different team when Immobile is in the lineup as they play more confidently, generate more scoring chances, and manage to score. With their captain back in the lineup, this gives Lazio a fighting chance to win this match and earn three vital points.
Furthermore, Sarri will make his return to Napoli, the team that he managed for three seasons. The Lazio manager’s previous return was when he managed Juventus and it will be interesting to see the kind of reception he receives as manager of Lazio. Sarri has fond memories with the Partenopei yet will be looking to get the better of his previous club.
Napoli has yet to lose at home this season and has shown good form when playing at the Diego Armando Maradona. Although they will be without key players for this match, Lazio cannot take them lightly and need to be ready.
It will take a collective effort from the Biancocelesti, yet this is a prime opportunity to show that they are making progress under Sarri and are a serious contender for a top-four spot. They cannot afford to lose two straight matches and drop further back in the standings; they will aim to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to Juventus last weekend.