After an incredible endeavor against Atalanta, and after losing the last game against Celtic in Uefa Europa League, Lazio return in Serie A playing a difficult game against Fiorentina, a side who has not lost in six games.
Since the draw against Juventus in Serie A, Fiorentina has never changed formation, and the trainer, Vincenzo Montella, has found some new tactics to win games.

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

Lineups

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Choices from Inzaghi and Montella.

Montella has confirmed the same starting XI through all over the last seven matches, playing with a back-three with Milenkovic, Pezzella, and the former Lazio player Martin Caceres, with Pol Lirola and Dalbert as full-backs, Badelj, and Pulgar as holding midfielders and the atypical attacking trio; the star is Franck Ribery, playing as a striker alongside the Italian star Federico Chiesa. Behind them, there is the youngster Gaetano Castrovilli, a real revelation for Fiorentina.

Lazio played in the same manner of the last years, with a 3-5-1-1 with Acerbi, Patric and Radu in the back-three, Lazzari as a full-back, Lulic as an inverted full-back (as he is right-footed and plays on the left), with former Liverpool player Lucas Leiva as holding midfielder, covering the attacking propensity of Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto. The two strikers are Joaquin Correa and the current best attacker of the Serie A, Ciro Immobile, who has scored 9 goals in 8 matches.

Fiorentina’s fluid style of play

Vincenzo Montella has implemented a new style of play in Fiorentina since the start of this season; he has decided to put another defender (from the initial 4-3-3) instead of a striker like Kevin Prince Boateng or Dusan Vlahovic, leaving the two wingers, Chiesa and Ribery, alone in the attack.

In this analysis, we can see that he has created an attack that doesn’t give references to the opponent’s defence, and is very fluid, with positional rotations between the two strikers, Castrovilli, and sometimes even with the full-backs. Chiesa and Ribery are completely free to move wherever they want to overload areas and carry the ball near the opponent’s goal.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Some sort of fluid attack from Fiorentina; from the standard 3-4-1-2 we can see a 3-5-2 with Badelj holding midfielder. Chiesa is free to move wherever he wants and he lowers himself opening spaces for Pulgar and Castrovilli behind him. Fast combinations will carry the ball near the opponent’s area.

The full-backs always grant width stretching the opponent’s defence, while Castrovilli always tries to move at the opponent’s holding midfielder’s flanks, to receive in dangerous positions. Chiesa and Ribery alternatively attack in-depth the opponent’s defence to lowers them and accomplish more spaces for them.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
This is the continuation of the previous action; they have changed the attacking flank.
Ribery is lower on the field, and Chiesa is lowering the opponent’s defence with an in-depth movement, opening spaces for Castrovilli to shoot from outside the box.
While Dalbert and Lirola granted width, stretching the opponent’s defence, even Caceres has tried to attack the opponent’s goal, creating another problem for Lazio.

Fiorentina is even really dangerous on fast transitions, exploiting the pace of their runners like Chiesa, Ribery, Lirola, and Castrovilli. When they recover the ball, even in lower parts of the pitch, they start running and play in a vertical way to attack the opponent’s defence while they aren’t ready.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Fast transition from Fiorentina; Castrovilli is on the ball, and Ribery is asking for it on the left flank. Chiesa and Lirola are dangerous on the other side, creating doubts about what to do for Lazio’s defence.

At the end of the day, the most dangerous player for the opponent’s defence is always Franck Ribery. His ability on pace, dribblings, and assist is incredible, and he drags players on him, creating spaces for his teammates to score.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Ribery is carrying the ball on the left flank, dragging out of the area four players from Lazio. This has created spaces to exploit for Chiesa and Lirola. Ribery will pass the ball to Chiesa, who will score with a first-touch shot.

Same old story from Lazio: the magic box.

Lazio is playing with the same 3-5-1-1, with very clear tasks for the players. While Leiva and the back-three are deputed to defend in every situation, Lazzari and Lulic are the players who are going to grant width to the team, the four attacking players are free to play the ball wherever they want to connect themselves and put the opposite side in a difficult situation.

Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic are two offensive midfielders, and they are great in combinations and through balls for the two strikers, Correa and Immobile. They need to have the ball while facing the opponent’s goal and then decide if it’s better to play a difficult through ball to put pressure on Fiorentina’s defence, or if they have to play again the ball on another side of the field.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Luis Alberto is a clever player and he understands that he can’t go on in this situation; he can’t play through balls or combinations, he is closed down by three Fiorentina’s players. So he turns back and restarts the attack.

Players like Correa and Immobile are very able to play the combinations that Luis Alberto and Milinkovic-Savic want, playing with first-touch dangerous balls, and finishing the triangulations with shots or runs behind the opponent’s defence.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Great play from Luis Alberto and Correa. Two fast triangulations to cut out of the play three Fiorentina players (two are pinned from Immobile on the right side, and one from Lulic, wide on the left flank.) and attack the goal with a clear chance from Lazio. Everything is played with a first-touch demonstrating the incredible technique of Lazio’s forwards.

In the end, Lazio are dangerous on transitions just like Fiorentina; they don’t have fast dribblers or ball-carrier, but they have champions in through ball like Luis Alberto, and players with a good pace like Correa and Immobile.

Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
A transition for Lazio; Luis Alberto is carrying the ball and he knows that the pass line to Correa is blocked by Badelj. So he understands the situation and passes the ball to Immobile.
Serie A 2019/20: Fiorentina vs Lazio - tactical analysis tactics
Immobile to Correa, 1-0 for Lazio.

Conclusion

The two tactical projects in Serie A are really good, and they have played a good match, that could end with every result; unfortunately from Fiorentina, a discussed goal from Ciro Immobile at the end of the match (for a previous foul from Jordan Lukaku) has given the victory to Lazio, stopping the six-games-without-lose Fiorentina’s situation.

But this is not a problem for Fiorentina, because they have demonstrated that they can play well even against difficult sides like Lazio. The problems are the red card showed to Ribery at the end of the match, and the injuries to Caceres and Lirola; Montella will have to work hard.

Inzaghi returns to Roma with three points, after the draw against Atalanta, and he can be happy for Lazio’s style of play and strength.


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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