Sub-standardBy: Pepe | February 1st, 2011
This has been a generally very disappointing fortnight for Laziale on several fronts. First off let me apologise for my absence the last week, I started a new job 10 days ago and haven’t had time to check the comments let alone post something new so, sorry.
I don’t think we need to dredge up everything from the derby, the bitter poison having mostly departed, but I will say this: When are we going to catch a break? We dominated that game pretty much from start to finish (especially the first half) but just could not capitalise (a recurring issue). On the other hand, when is Rioma’s luck going to run out? Who knows but at this moment it is getting ridiculous. When even self-avowed Rioma fans are publicly admitting (James Richardson of the Guardian and ex-Football Italia presenter for example) that their luck has to end soon you know it’s too much. Rioma have now had 3 penalties awarded against us this season and the only one I can agree with was the one we saw last week. The little drop of lady luck for Simplicio’s goal was merely the salt in the wound.
What was most disappointing was that on the day we were the much better team, our control of the ball was sharper, we made more chances but that doesn’t change the result and it is just another bitter pill that we have to swallow. Goodbye la Coppa Italia.
The Bologna game, however, was a bloody shambles. For the first time this season I’ve seen Dias have an awful game, which really makes you realise how influential he is on our team currently. I switched off with 5 minutes to go I was so angry at the way our discipline crumbled, turned it on again just to see Di Vaio put the finishing touches on our Scudetto hopes. Of course, Mudingayi was quality against us and we deserved the loss completely. We’ve only turned in 3 or 4 genuinely poor performances all season and that was one of them. The passing was literally all over the place, the defending embarrassing and the finishing (particularly by Zárate) was woeful. The only positive was seeing Sergio back on the scorecard with a delightful goal.
This weekend against Fiorentina was certainly a better result and performance but I believe it just masked some shortfalls in our squad. We had dozens of chances, the passing was crisp and decent and we allowed Fiorentina very few chances but don’t let anybody fool you into thinking that that was a good Fiorentina side, they’ve been poor all season and they were shocking against us on Saturday. I must say I was delighted to see Kozák get his name on the score sheet, but I was most pleased with the nature of the second goal. You could see how happy Sculli was to have helped the team because before Saturday he had endured a miserable beginning to his Lazio career. It was a quality chipped cross for a Sunday school finish to Kozák. It’s starting to look like Libor is a genuine poacher, and if that’s the case we have to make sure the midfield gives him quality to feed on because he has shown that he’ll put away every easy chance.
I have an unfortunate sneaky suspicion though that these goals from Kozák have persuaded Lotito to not spend on another striker as we are currently the 31st and unless a bombshell is dropping this evening, our mercato business is done. We signed a couple of youngsters but unfortunately I can’t give you anything more solid about them than this: Ojiakor Chukwuemeka is a 21 year old Ghanaian defensive midfielder who to date has only ever played for the Primavera at Triestina. The other is young 18 year old goalkeeper Lorenzo Mosciatti, signed from Tor Sapienza, a local Roman team so chances are he’s a local lad.
We have also loaned out our young Belgian Cavanda to Torino on loan until the end of the season which I can understand in the context of giving the boy some playing time but as we didn’t sign Ziegler we might end up looking light at full-back (I’m looking at you Garrido, where are you?).
So we enter February with a lighter squad as we have brought one man in, let one go but we have lots of injury worries currently so we’re really going to have to hope that Reja has approved this and knows what he’s doing.
And tonight we have A.C. Milan at the San Siro.
Due to injuries, suspension and tiredness, this is the squad we’re looking at tonight:
LAZIO (4-3-1-2): 86 Muslera; 2 Lichtsteiner, 3 Dias, 20 Biava, 26 Radu; 32 Brocchi, 24 Ledesma, 15 Gonzalez; 8 Hernanes; 18 Kozák, 77 Sculli
Squad: 12 Berni, 13 Stendardo, 5 Scaloni, 6 Mauri, 23 Bresciano, 11 Matuzalem, 17 Foggia
Notice the total absence of strikers on our bench, but at least we have Mauri to bring on to change the game in the second half.
MILAN (4-3-1-2): 32 Abbiati; 17 Oddo, 25 Bonera, 76 Yepes, 77 Antonini; 16 Flamini, 33 Thiago Silva, 28 Emanuelson; 70 Robinho; 7 Pato, 11 Ibrahimović
Squad: 30 Roma, 35 Dídac, 15 Sokratis, 66 Legrottaglie, 52 Merkel, 18 Jankulovski, 99 Cassano
Milan are also struggling badly with injuries, particularly at the back so I really believe despite the gulf between Ibrahimović and most of the rest of Serie A, I think we can get more than just a result tonight. The Lazio staff are talking up our chances and how we will be aggressive tonight, let’s hope that that will be the case. More importantly, if it is the case then let’s be more precise with our finishing tonight.
Lastly, let me just apologise again for the tardiness of this edition, like I said I have had an unbelievably hectic and tiring week but I’ll be back later this week before the weekend. I would also like to quickly reiterate that if anyone wants to help on this blog it would be more than welcome, I would love this blog to have 2+ posts a week but currently that is just impossible.
A.C. Milan vs S.S. Lazio
Tuesday 1 February