Il ritorno di ChiccoBy: Pepe | January 15th, 2011
Itâ€™s been a long week and a half so far in 2011 for Laziale as we have not had any good news on the playing or mercato front but we have to stay optimistic as all the realistic goals we had for this season are still open, even if the Scudetto dream is now a long shot, it always was anyway.
So what has January had in store for us so far? Well I had somehow forgotten that the 6th of January is a religious holiday in Italy and therefore missed this match but for all those who took time on their day of rest will have been disappointed to not see any goals.
Genoa: Â Eduardo; Mesto, Kaladze, Dainelli, Criscito; Rafinha, Milanetto, Rossi; Jankovic (Moretti 86); Destro (Boakye 89), Toni
Lazio:Â Muslera; Lichtsteiner, Biava, Dias, Radu; Ledesma, Brocchi (MatuzalÃ©m 76); ZÃ¡rate, Hernanes (Bresciano 83), Mauri; Floccari (KozÃ¡k 87)
Bookings:Â Â Dias (L), Biava (L)
The month kicked-off with what by all accounts was a dull but not too shameful away goalless draw at Genoa. Lazio only had a few chances but a couple did look golden and maybe should have been dealt with. From what you guys have posted we were seemingly under heavy pressure for the last portion of the game but then you could argue that we were away at a team with whom we thought we would be competing with this season. So this season still can depend on context.
Lazio: Â Muslera; Lichtsteiner (Foggia 85), Stendardo, Biava, Radu; Ledesma, Brocchi; ZÃ¡rate, Hernanes (Bresciano 68), Mauri (KozÃ¡k 75); Floccari
Lecce: Â Rosati; Gustavo, Tomovic, Fabiano, Mesbah; GrossmÃ¼ller, (Ferrario 86), Vives, Bertolacci (Coppola 69); Munari, Jeda; Ofere (Corvia 36)
Bookings:Â Biava (L), Mauri (L), Munari (Le), GrossmÃ¼ller (Le)
A few days later however and real misery was piled on our heads, to go with a dose of shame. It should have been a great occasion, Lazioâ€™s 111th birthday and a day to celebrate. What actually happened was that Lecce instead led the celebrations by recording their 100th Serie A win (according to the commentator) whilst we turned in a performance as bad as the one at Cesena, except this time we had pretty much our first team out there.
There certainly was some bad luck involved but it was no excuse for the overall result, we made good chances and the finishing wasnâ€™t up to scratch and the lack of concentration for their second goal was of a team that was losing the last 5 minutes of a cup final and not one that still had 20 minutes to equalise.
This match emphasised one thing: we urgently need a substitute striker. I still believe that our starting forwards are good enough but KozÃ¡k is just not yet at a level where he can sufficiently aid the team. We probably should have loaned him out and we certainly should have somebody on the books who can take the goalscoring pressure off of ZÃ¡rate and Floccari. I personally still have faith in our boy Rocchi but whether that is shared by Reja or even by himself is another story.
Who could this man be? For a long while the name Roque Santa Cruz was the most bandied about and as I see almost as much English football as I do Italian I must say I wasnâ€™t too enamoured with the prospect. No matter, he has joined Blackburn Rovers on loan. Other names linked are Georgios Samaras, Giuseppe Sculli, Pablo Granoche, Miroslav Klose, Erjon Bogdani and David Trezeguet. Some of these are clearly paper talk (such as Trezeguet, despite HÃ©rculesâ€™ financial difficulties), Klose (who has mentioned several clubs who interest him). Samaras has stated he wants to leave Celtic but I think the press may have just put 2 and 2 together with this story; I donâ€™t think we could pay him what he wants, he wouldnâ€™t be satisfied on the bench and finally, he is awful. I really hope we donâ€™t get him. Chievo have denied any Lazio approach for Granoche (a Uruguayan with a very poor scoring record) and the less said about Bogdani the better (Tare pt. II perhaps?).
That leaves the Calabrese Sculli. Now this deal seems very real and may almost be done. Tare says heâ€™s in the final stages but then he says a lot of things. Sculli is not what we would be expecting as an incoming player as he more of an attacking midfielder/forward than an out and out striker but this could mean that Tare is speaking the truth when he says that we will bring in another attacker. What I could potentially see Sculli doing is filling in for Mauri when heâ€™s tired or to play in ZÃ¡rateâ€™s current position allowing Mauro to operate more centrally. Letâ€™s hope we can bring in Sculli from Genoa and get someone else in. Letâ€™s also hope our good luck with Genoa purchases continues as Floccari and Biava have both been successes.
Tomorrow we may well have another homecoming in Lazio youth product Federico â€˜Chiccoâ€™ Macheda coming back to the Olimpico for the first time, unfortunately wearing a different shade of blue. It is a shame we couldnâ€™t have brought him in on loan as he might well have been the exact player weâ€™re looking for currently but understandably would have been too fraught with difficulties. Also I donâ€™t think I could bear watching him do well for us just to lose him again.
Last time we played Sampdoria we had to face a raging bull on the first day of the season, with Pazzini (now thereâ€™s a striker I wouldnâ€™t mind getting in the mercato) and Cassano desperate to win a game. Now theyâ€™re just coming out of a rut whilst we need to put a stop to our poor form before it becomes a rut. They beat the 2nd team of Rome 2-1 last week but before that were in a Cassano mired pit of poor form. They have to learn to play without him and if they think Macheda is the guy to replace him Iâ€™ll be surprised. So letâ€™s hope theyâ€™re still adjusting as a win is what we need at the moment.
Unfortunately we will be missing our left-footed (Omar) Radu to a fever which means we are presently looking to Scaloni to fill in. Honestly, I was not happy to see him return to the squad this summer but everybody deserves a chance and tomorrow will be his. Cavanda and Del Nero have also been called and may feature at left back. Garrido has not even been selected for the match day squad, if anybody knows anything about the man who is fast turning into a pure sicknote Iâ€™d love to hear it. Biava is not in the squad either as he is unfortunately suspended again so we will most likely see DiakitÃ© partnering Dias at the back.
Lichtsteiner, DiakitÃ©, Dias, Scaloni;
ZÃ¡rate, Hernanes, Mauri;
I would like to also make an addendum to a point I made about Internazionale last week. I said that I am not considering their Scudetto and league ambitions until I see a bit of Leonardoâ€™s Inter. Well weâ€™ve seen it now and, yup, theyâ€™re back. Which just makes everything that bit harder. Shame we helped to get rid of Benitez.
Finally let me say this on the blog here. There is a continuation; just it will not be the same as before as I said. I perhaps wasnâ€™t clear at the beginning. I will get something up every calendar week but more frequently than that is not going to be easy. If anyone really, genuinely, wants to help please let me know about it and weâ€™ll see what we can do. I do hope you enjoy it but I understand if you are not as sated as before with Lazio news. I will try and do more than one post a week but cannot guarantee it at all. Just believe me when I say there will be something every calendar week, so donâ€™t panic. Â And as noted in the comments there are plenty of people doing good work out there too so donâ€™t neglect them. There is a continuation of the Lazio offside. Ciao belli.
S.S. Lazio vs. U.C. Sampdoria
Sunday 16th January 2011