Posts Tagged Lazio

Lazio vs. AC Milan Preview


S. S. Lazio have the chance (again) to make a bit of a statement in the Serie A, with a match against AC Milan coming up for l’Aquile at the Stadio Olimpico.

Having lost woefully at Napoli just a month ago, third placed Lazio will see Milan’s visit not only as a chance to keep pace with the league’s pacesetters, but also as an opportunity to show that it can get the points against the big teams.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side will also be motivated by the fact that a win over Milan will see Biancocelesti reduce the four point gap between it and one or both of league leaders Juventus and second placed Napoli, as both clash at Turin in Saturday’s evening kick-off.

Saturday’s late kick-off in Rome remains a high profile match despite Milan’s misfortunes this season. The Rossoneri finds itself down in 11th place, with just seven points from as many matches.

Milan have also had to deal with head coach Massimo Allegri in a reported heated exchange with youth coach Filippo Inzaghi, continuously backing Allegri’s position as coach inspite of a poor start to the season as well as fending off rumours of a sale of the club to Qatari investors.

On the flip side, the Rossoneri played well for large spells in the loss to Inter Milan last time out. Days before that loss, Milan held their nerves to gain a crucial 3-2 Champions League at Zenit St. Petersburg after throwing a two-goal lead away.

The biggest boost for Allegri’s side however will be the return to fitness of Brazilian forward Alexander Pato from an injury sustained on international duty at the Olympics.

Milan’s main threat however will be Italian youngster Stephen El-Shaarawy. With four league goals so far, the 19 year old has proved an unlikely pillar for Milan in the absence of Pato and lack of form from the likes of Robinho, who is out injured, or Ricardo Montolivo.

With a difficult trip to face Champions League Group C leaders Malaga coming after Saturday’s trip to Rome, the next five days are crucial to Milan’s season.

Likewise to Lazio’s season, though coach Petkovic believes Lazio should only be considered contenders for the Scudetto or otherwise by Christmas while urging his players to be at their best in the league and in Europe.

The Bosnian tactician also believes Lazio at the moment can beat Milan, a view echoed by midfielder Cristian Brocchi who stated Milan is “wounded” at the moment.

And indeed Lazio, hardly ever so, is favourite going into the encounter and will be banking on Hernanes and Miroslav Klose to deliver the goods upfront, with Klose in a rich scoring streak having hit home five league goals so far; including a brace last time out at Pescara.

Lazio players celebrating a goal recently.

Lazio players celebrating a goal recently.

He also scored a brace for Germany in Tuesday’s thrilling 4-4 draw against Sweden in a World Cup qualifier to come within two goals of Gerd Muller’s record of 68 goals for the German national team.

Petkovic will hope he maintains his form on Saturday and ensure Lazio secure a result similar to last season’s corresponding fixture. A win for Milan however will help ease the pressure weighing on Allegri.

P.S: FORZA BIANCOCELESTI!!!

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The Rich Also Cry Mancini


It’s all fun and games until the City starts to fall apart and Manchester City may well need to check its excesses before it self-destructs owing ironically to its most potent weapon, near limitless wealth. Having been bought over by Sheikh Mansour, Manchester City has transformed into a feared adversary in the transfer market especially and more importantly on the pitch, though the latter remains arguable.

In any case, the oil riches have elevated City from mid-table obscurity under the likes of Steve McLaren and Sven Goran Eriksson to the lucrative top quarter of the league as well as Champions League football courtesy of its 3rd place finishing last season. This, coupled with high profile players being signed at will and pampered with wages pushing the line of absurd, certainly the club’s stature has improved surreally.

All that could however lead the club back to obscurity, given a more celebrated one, what with the pampered players such as Carlos Tevez and more recently Mario Balotteli giving the world a peek into the illusion that clouds the air at the Eastlands. Unfortunately, rather than trim its excesses, it may well be a fine manager in Roberto Mancini that will bear the repercussions while the brats stay on.

Mancini is known for being an excellent manager especially when it comes to resource management if I may put it that way. The Italian, since his managerial debut with Fiorentina, holds a record of reaching at least the semi-final of a Cup competition in every season he has managed a club. This includes Coppa Italia triumphs – in his only year at Fiorentina, at Lazio as well as four consecutive times at Inter Milan – as well as reaching the UEFA Cup semi-final with Lazio and winning the FA Cup last season at City.

Therefore his managerial abilities, tactic wise, remains very sound in my opinion but the other side of his abilities is in question. I believe Mancini’s main problem is being exposed to an obscene amount as transfer budget right after six seasons managing in a debt-riddled Serie A. He left Fiorentina with the club then perilously close to bankruptcy, Lazio was heavy in debt in the two otherwise successful seasons he spent at Rome and Inter Milan’s finances can be described as secure when he reigned at the San Siro and became their greatest manager in three decades with a complete lock down of the Italian league and cup titles.

So being able to thrive with little resources, Mancini was employed under the assumption he would properly manage a complete opposite of what he is used to. Alas, it has been a mess so far off the pitch and the level of ego at a club that pays at least £140,000 weekly to at least seven first team players with six more not far behind in earning at least £90,000 weekly leaves much to desire when it comes to the individuals being a team.

Egos then will see more players than not advocating to be left untouched in the first eleven at all times, some for all 90 minutes at all times even as Balotteli’s attitude seems, leaving dear old Mancini with the headache of what to do with; for example, his front line that at the moment comprises unsettled Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor, Edin Dzeko, Balotteli and new arrival Sergio Aguero without forgetting David Silva…

From the above, Adebayor can be left out seeing as he is determined to force a move away, one less source of migraine for Mancini there. And moving on, one may argue having good depth but there are times, a lot of times, when it is individual brilliance that rescues City from an embarrassing situation in a match as Tevez, Yaya Toure and maybe Silva can testify from last season’s performances. City surely can’t hope this would be the case all the time.

And in all this, Mancini still wants to add two players to the squad as quoted to stating last week and you start to wonder if there is a script at City…

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