After losing the last two games (against Spal in Serie A and against Cluj in the UEFA Europa League), Lazio needed to react and win at home; Parma had lost to Cagliari in the last matchday, but it was a difficult match for them at the Stadio Olimpico.

Simone Inzaghi did not change his tactics and tried to overcome Parma’s strong defence with his best players – Ciro Immobile, Joaquin Correa, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic; Parma is basing his play on counter-attacks for the fast Gervinho, the youngster Dejan Kulusevski and the main striker, the former Napoli player Roberto Inglese.

In this tactical analysis, we will explain how Lazio’s tactics overcame Parma’s style of play, and how some of Inzaghi’s choices worked in this match.

Lineups

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics

Simone Inzaghi has confirmed his 3-5-2 preferred formation, with the best starting XI in his ideas; Lucas Leiva has returned in his holding midfielder position, protecting Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic offensive plays with his defensive ability. The two strikers are the Italian star Ciro Immobile and Joaquin Correa.

Roberto D’Aversa started with his 4-3-3 formation with little changes from the last matchday; Pezzella is the chosen left-back instead of Gagliolo, while Hernani, Brugman, and Barillà are the three midfielders, with Juraj Kucka out after an injury. Dejan Kulusevski is confirmed instead of Yann Karamoh alongside Roberto Inglese and the former Roma player Gervinho.

Lazio’s patient build-up

Lazio loves to play during build-up phases with a 3-1-4-2 shape, with Lucas Leiva blocked in front of the back three to play as a wall and make the ball proceed to the brains of the team; Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
3-1-4-2 shape for Lazio. Parma defends with a 4-3-3 with Brugman highering himself to take Lucas Leiva, and Gervinho and Kulusevski are really narrow protecting the centre.

If Parma blocks some passes lines to Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic, Inzaghi decides to change some positions to give the ball to his stars in the midfield. Luis Alberto starts to lower himself in the lower-left half-space, while Radu goes wider and higher, and Lulic takes Luis Alberto’s starting place in the left half-space; with this movement, Luis Alberto has got the ball and can invent something.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
Luis Alberto lowers himself, pushing Radu up; he will make Lulic go narrower in the left half-space. Lazio can proceed with Luis Alberto on the ball.

Lazio tactics were based on giving the ball to Luis Alberto, as seen above, and to Milinkovic-Savic.

The second goal was all about that: after a long throw to Caicedo, he can give the ball back to Milinkovic-Savic, who is ready to face the goal. With a great first touch, he chipped the ball inside the area to Marusic, who was attacking the goal with an external run.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
From Caicedo to Milinkovic; he can face the goal and see Marusic who is exploiting the space behind Parma’s defence. A ball through and 2-0 for Lazio.

Parma’s style of play; counter-attacks and pace.

Parma is a defensive team, who stay in a narrow and compact 4-3-3 shape near their area, counting on Bruno Alves defensive and heading skills, and on perfect defensive spacing.
They are incredibly threatening even if they recover the ball in a really far place from the opponent’s goal because they can set off the incredible pace of players like Gervinho, using Kulusevski’s ability to play through passes, and Inglese’s capacity to finish the attack.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
After three minutes Parma recover the ball in their own half and they start a fast counter-attack; Kulusevski will serve with a through ball Inglese, who fails. Parma is really dangerous in those fast transitions.

The type of play from Lazio is good for Parma; 3-1-4-2 shape during the build-up phase from Lazio will leave only four players as a cover for their goal, so if Parma can start a counter-attack they will have numerical parity so many times.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
Another dangerous situation from a counter-attack; this is a 3vs4 situation for Parma, but they have positional superiority. Kulusevski can serve Gervinho on the side but decides for a through ball to Inglese. Strakosha will make a great save.

How to deceive Parma: Lazio’s tactics

How to drive out Parma from their comfort zone? Lazio decide to build from the back to attract Parma’s high pressing and then give to their strikers some spaces to make runs in-depth and attack the goal. We will see an example with an analysis of Lazio’s first goal.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
Lazio is attracting Parma’s pressing building from the back; this is a 5vs4 situation for Lazio (counting Strakosha), meaning there is a 6vs6 situation in the rest of the field. Strakosha knows that and tries to find a free player behind the first pressing line with a chipped ball.

After that, if Strakosha can find a player behind the first line, there is plenty of spaces to exploit for Immobile and Correa runs; fast players with great offensive skills. This is an invitation to technical players like Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic to show their skills.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
Luis Alberto is free to control the ball, turn himself to the opponent’s goal and look at his strikers who are exploiting spaces behind the opponent’s defence.

At this moment, Luis Alberto can run to the opponent’s goal with Lulic at his side, making a 4vs4 with Immobile and Correa against Parma’s back four. But he is an incredible assist man, and he finds space to give the ball to Ciro Immobile in front of the goal.

Serie A 2019/20: Lazio vs Parma - tactical analysis tactics
A great ball from Luis Alberto to Ciro Immobile; he has got great pace and he can’t fail that chance. 1-0 for Lazio.

Conclusion

After that analysis, we have seen the main strength of Lazio, having four great offensive players who can create a dangerous situation just facing the opponent’s goal, and even how they have overcome Parma’s tactics attracting them in their own half. Parma is a good team based on counter-attacks, using the main skills of Gervinho, Kulusevski and Inglese, but they can’t stop the ability of some players like Luis Alberto of Milinkovic-Savic, who have created the conditions to make Lazio win this match.



Artwork by @chapulana

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Francesco Donzella

24-years-old performance analyst. Former footballer. Italian, holds match analyst license from FIGC. Enjoys football, in particular, offensive midfielders and ball-oriented style of play.
Francesco Donzella