Juventus
    20.04.2016 12:30 - in: Serie A S

    Lazio’s Inzaghi effect

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    Appointed Lazio first-team coach only two weeks ago, Juventus.com analyses the effect of Simone Inzaghi’s arrival in the Biancolesti dugout
    Winning beginnings

    Two wins out of two (against Palermo and Empoli), a total of five goals scored and zero conceded, Simone Inzaghi would have been hard pushed to get his Lazio reign off to a better start.

    Whatever happens on Wednesday evening at Juventus Stadium, the pair of victories has already marked an important upturn in fortunes for the Biancocelesti in that they represent the first time since late September / early October that the side has managed to string together two successes and the first time this season that they have kept consecutive clean sheets.

    The results have launched eighth-placed Lazio up to 48 points, four within of Milan in sixth. Were Inzaghi’s charges to end the campaign in the top six at the expense of their northern rivals and if Juventus beat the Rossoneri in the Coppa Italia final, the Biancocelesti will qualify for next season’s Europa League preliminary round.

    Squad selection

    Inzaghi has persisted with the 4-3-3 formation preferred by former Lazio manager Stefano Pioli and has largely stuck with the same players.

    The most notable changes to personnel between Pioli’s final game in charge (the 4-1 derby defeat to Roma) and Inzaghi’s debut against Palermo are those of Keita Baldé replacing Felipe Anderson on the left side of attack, Ogenyi Onazi coming in for Danilo Cataldi on the right side of midfield and Miroslav Klose leading the line instead of Alessandro Matri.

    Lazio's line-ups in their last three league fixtures.

    All of the above represent tactical alterations, as opposed to Senad Lulic’s deployment at left-back, the Bosnian regaining his starting berth in the side in light of Edson Braafheid’s hamstring injury.

    Main men

    Klose has done plenty to repay the faith instilled in him by Inzaghi, scoring twice against Palermo and providing an assist in each of the two fixtures. The German striker has now had a hand in seven of his side’s last nine goals.

    Biancocelesti captain Lucas Biglia plays a vital role at the base of Lazio’s three-man midfield, winning back possession 24 times under Inzaghi, whilst also having a say going forwards, creating five goalscoring opportunities.

    His sidekick Onazi is also fundamental to breaking up the play, having made six tackles, whilst getting his name on the scoresheet last time out against Empoli.

    Meanwhile Antonio Candreva on the right and Keita on the left regularly wreak havoc down their respective flanks, whipping in a total 31 crosses between them.

    Altered approach

    Under Inzaghi, Lazio are playing with greater physicality than under Pioli and are showing greater defensive grit and determination. The average of positive interventions in their own penalty area has increased from 41 during the Pioli era to an impressive 70.1.

    Meanwhile going forwards, the Biancocelesti are dribbling less, opting instead for longer, more direct balls forward in order to launch quick counter-attacks.

    The alterations in attack would certainly appear to be paying off so far with Lazio’s forwards playing, on average, eight more successful passes in the opposition area per match (27.5 to 19.48) and they’ve also become more clinical in front of goal, finding the net with 17 per cent of shots as opposed to 13 previously under Pioli.

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