Lazio met Genoa in this 2019/20 Serie A clash hoping to bounce back from their mid-week defeat to Inter Milan. They did so in superb fashion, beating Genoa 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico. Their tactics played a key part in their victory. This tactical analysis will demonstrate how Lazio’s attacking ambition contributed to their dominant performance. Furthermore, this analysis will also show how the performances of several Lazio players rewarded Simone Inzaghi’s ambition.
Inzaghi sent his Lazio side out to play his favoured 3-5-2 formation. He made five changes to the side that lost to Inter Milan in mid-week. Stefan Radu replaced Bastos on the left side of the back three. Adam Marušić, Lucas Leiva and Senad Lulić came into midfield and Ciro Immobile started up front having come off the substitutes bench against Inter.
Aurelio Andreazzoli also set up in his preferred 5-3-2 formation. However, his side was unchanged personnel-wise from their previous match, against Bologna.
Lazio’s attacking intent
Lazio clearly approached this match as one in which they could dominate their opponents. They played an offensive brand of football, seeking to get multiple players high up the field who could threaten Genoa’s low 5-3-2 block. At various points, we saw a 3-3-4, a 3-2-5 or even a 3-1-6 shape emerge when Lazio were in possession.
The 3-3-4 was formed either by both 8s pushing on and the laterals staying deeper, or by both 8s dropping back and the laterals pushing on, or by one of each pushing up. Sometimes, they all pushed on, making the 3-1-6. On other occasions, one 8 or lateral stayed deeper alongside Lucas, with the rest high, forming the 3-2-5.
Lazio also looked to use their centre-backs aggressively, particularly the outside centre-backs. On the ball, they would push up, often creating a diamond with the pivote (Lucas) highest and Francesco Acerbi deepest. On other occasions, Luiz Felipe and Radu would overlap, adding another further presence in wide areas to create possible wide overloads. This generally happened when one of Luis Alberto or Sergej Milinković-Savić dropped deeper.
Additionally, Lazio were aggressive on the counter-attack. They had ten counter-attacks during the game against a team who have only given up 3.14 per 90 minutes in the past calendar year. Penetrative passing from deep and good combinations higher up the field from the likes of Immobile, Joaquín Correa and Alberto frequently threatened Genoa.
Lazio’s central midfield three shines
The Lazio midfield trio of Lucas, Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto were crucial in their victory.
Lucas was always the deepest midfielder. He covered the back three, broke up the play, helped initiate attacks and circulate the ball. Genoa were unable to muster a single counter-attack despite Lazio’s attacking intent. That was at least in part a credit to Lucas, who broke up play on numerous occasions. He mustered seven interceptions, nine recoveries and participated in 17 defensive duels (winning 10). He also showed off his impressive range of passing.
Alberto and Milinković-Savić meanwhile were superb in the attacking portion of the match. Milinković-Savić grabbed a goal and an assist, whilst Alberto also got an assist as well as seeing a goal ruled out. Both provided quality passing from deep and an extra presence in attack when it was required. They demonstrated their broad skillsets and their importance to their team. Alberto was the more overtly attacking. He completed 88% of his passes and all four of his dribbles.
Milinković-Savić contributed more as a defender (recording seven interceptions) but also completed six of his eight passes into the penalty area. His goal was a great example of the threat he carries in the penalty area whilst his assist was a magnificent pass. They also showed his two-footedness.
Genoa struggle to make an impression
Genoa on the other hand really struggled to make an impact in the game. They had some moments of quality and opportunities, but these were wasted by poor finishing and decision making. Furthermore, Lazio’s disciplined defensive shape and their occasional press were clearly aimed at nullifying Genoa’s attacking approach. This approach revolved around getting the ball to Christian Kouamé. It was reasonably effective.
Genoa predominantly wanted to get the ball into Kouamé’s feet but were also willing to play the ball aerially to him. When they were able to find Kouamé, good things did happen.
They also had some success playing through Lazio’s press on occasion. Unfortunately, they failed to take advantage of the opportunities created on those rare occasions.
Lazio dominated this match. Their attacking intent and the quality performances of all their players, but especially the midfield trio, saw them record a comfortable win. Whether it was pushing midfielders, laterals or even centre-backs high up the field, they ensured they had plenty of options high up the pitch and threatened Genoa frequently. Furthermore, their defensive plan did nullify Genoa’s threat somewhat. Nevertheless, Genoa will also feel that they were wasteful on the day.
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