Can Lazio unsettle the Serie A status quo?
Background image: Andrew, CC BY-SA 3.0
For the last decade, Rome has been recognised for one predominant football entity - AS Roma. The thinking was unquestioned as the Giallorossi maintained podium finishes and peaked during their Champions League semi-final run last year. Their rivals, Lazio, received the underachievers' tags, being forced to watch on from the depths of the Europa League.
But the tides are now shifting to usher in a sea of blue at the capital. In Serie A, Inter isn’t the only blue-painted assassins aiming to end Juventus’ rule. As the traditional heavyweights keep clawing at each other’s necks, Simone Inzaghi’s men maintain a sneaky charge for the title race.
However, a humble attitude isn’t mellowing down their ruthlessness. They've scored the joint-most goals in the league, fending away the opposition with ease. But consistency is key to keep up with the top. Their title lodge comes as a surprise for a portion, knowing how they’ve earned a chokers tag in almost always coming up short of a top-four finish. Yet Inzaghi’s planning for this coming-of-age has been in effect for a long time.
Considering that six regulars were roped in after his arrival, the Eagles’ recruitment process has been effective. As their rivals spent big on ushering in immediate dominance, Inzaghi remained patient, waiting for his new arrivals to start gelling together. The end-result sees them dominating oppositions despite possessing quite a low-budget side.
That being said, just because players were signed for cheap doesn’t mean they weren’t capable of big things. Ciro Immobile was having an identity crisis at Sevilla when he moved to Rome. Now he’s their driving force, scoring goals as he pleases and outshining every other striker in the league.
🔥 Incredible stoppage time turnaround as Inzaghi's team score twice late on to pick up their 9th straight win!
👏 They close the gap on the leaders to just 3 points https://t.co/yIry6ANrg0
Luis Alberto didn’t fit in at Liverpool. After getting support at Lazio, he’s now running the show with finesse, having the most assists (11) in Serie A and carving out chances at will. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic continues being a creative link in the final third. Lucas Leiva finds more license to dictate the tempo as well as act as their midfield general.
Joaquin Correa has brought that Spanish spice, while Francesco Acerbi ousted his shaky reputation to solidify their defensive shape. With players of all ages having important roles for maintaining a smooth cohesion, Inzaghi’s mixed the fire of youth with the senior members’ composure to produce great results.
There’s also a comfortable depth instilled with their recent investments. If Immobile fails to inspire in any occasion, substitute Felipe Caicedo brings his powerful presence to get the job done. Marco Parolo and Adam Marusic possess enough steel as well as craft to form a new dimension to their attacking set-up.
Right now, the wheels are moving in sync to fuel their bright run. But the title race is not a sprint, but a marathon. If they want to keep chipping at the heavyweights' heels, the Eagles need to muster more than just a spark. For all his popular elder brother Pippo Inzaghi’s achievements, Simone’s achievements are dwarfed down.
The one time he lifted the Serie A was in 2000. Two decades later, an opportunity has risen to clinch it once again. However, winning the Scudetto needs a mental strength to fend away the pressures which come with the title challenge. Lazio can only play the underdogs role for so long.
Fortunately, the Eagles possess enough experienced senior figures who’ve taken part in pressure scenarios in the past. However, dealing with the title race’s intensity takes the utmost fortitude. Whether or not they keep up their inspired surge remains to be seen. If one thing is guaranteed, Inzaghi’s side will persist with their fearless style- which could be their beacon for challenging through till May.