Serie A Match Preview-Lazio vs. Napoli
Napoli will enter the fray as favorites but Lazio would try to capitalize on their home advantage. Napoli were unbeaten in their last six encounters with Simone Inzaghi’s men but a change in system could finally see Lazio ending their winless rut against the Serie A runner-ups. But loss of Stefan de Vrij could hurt Lazio’s defensive organization and Napoli’s fearful attacking trio of Callejon-Mertens-Insigne could make them pay.
Possible line-up: (3-5-2) Strakosha (GK), Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Radu, Cataldi, Parolo, Milinkovic-Savic, Marusic, Durmisi, Luis Alberto, Immobile
Simone Inzaghi will have a hard time forgetting the final day defeat to Inter last season, which cost Lazio a spot among the European elites. But that last minute collapse could inspire an even more invigorated campaign this time around, as Inzaghi seeks to build on the positives the Biancocelesti achieved last season and mount a formidable bid for a top four finish.
Stefan de Vrij and Felipe Anderson were the key departures from Lazio this summer but the club did well to keep their core intact, notably being able to fend off suitors for their prized possession Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio brought in Francesco Acerbi from Sassuolo to replace de Vrij in defense, who might not be on par with de Vrij in terms of a defender but the leadership attributes he brings to the club is priceless. The inclusions of Joaquin Correa, Milan Badelj, and Valon Berisha give Inzahgi a much needed blend of youth and experience in his side, providing him with enough ammunition to trouble the best teams in Italian soil.
Milinkovic-Savic is one of the most sought after players in the world, whose presence will undoubtedly boost Lazio’s midfield. Up front, Lazio have a menacing attacking duo of Immobile and Alberto. Combine Inzaghi’s fast paced brand of football with all these and Lazio are set to challenge the big guns of Serie A.
Possible lineup: (4-3-3) Karnezis(gk), Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui, Allan, Hamsik, Ruiz, Callejon, Mertens, Insigne
“So close yet so far away”-no other expression could sum up Napoli’s last season better. The Pertonopei managed to accumulate an impressive 91 points tally under the guidance of Maurizio Sarri but even that fell short to a Juventus side-who further strengthened their stranglehold on the Scudetto by pulling off the signing of 5 time Ballon d’ Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Even though the gulf between Juventus and other Serie A sides continue to widen, Napoli would be looking to pose a serious threat to the Old Lady’s supremacy once again. Sarri is no longer in charge but they got one of the most successful managers in modern football-Carlo Ancelotti as their new boss.
As Sarri left the Naples outlet for Chelsea, he took midfield maestro Jorginho along for a €56m fee. Veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina also left the club with Duvan Zapata and Leonerdo Pavoletti completing the outgoing list. Fabian Ruiz, Simone Verdi and Kevin Malcuit are the new arrivals while Roberto Inglese returned to the club after a successful loan spell at Chievo.
Managerial changes bring about a period of transition for players. Converting to a more relaxed, disciplined approach from Sarri’s attacking philosophy would require some time. Despite his reputation, King Carlo did face difficulties to implement his own ideas in post-Pep Guardiola Bayern Munich. It’s utterly possible that he could face the same problems in Italy but his Serie A experience could help Napoli finally come out of Juventus’s shadow and end their 28 year wait for reclaiming the Serie A honor.
Betting Prediction, bet on Napoli or bet on Lazio
With the attacking options both teams boast, it’s highly likely that both teams would find the back of the net.
A 2-2 draw is our prediction of the game.
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Date: August 18, 2018.
Time: 06:30 PM GMT