BLOG ITALIA
Sunday December 8 2019
Where Eagles dare

Lazio are unlikely to win the Scudetto, but Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall pleads with you to dream anyway.

“We are in a great period of form, we should be ambitious.” These were the words of Simone Inzaghi after his team beat Juventus. He was right, the title race had been blown wide open by the result, but as people mused over whether Inter could win the title, they perhaps should also talk of the Aquile.

If Atalanta could qualify for the Champions League in third place, then isn’t it possible that Lazio could actually challenge for the title? Admittedly, there would need to be a number of caveats for this to be achieved, but it is not completely out of the realms of possibility. If they are to crash out of the Europa League early, it’ll allow them to focus entirely on Serie A with a limited squad.

Lazio are now only five points behind Inter. They face an in-form Cagliari in Sardinia, away to Brescia, at home to Verona and then take on a tragic Napoli in the Stadio Olimpico. It is an exciting time to follow the Roman team, and the Derby Della Capitale is just after these fixtures. They are the side in form and the football they play allows one to get carried away. Writing this piece is an open admission of just that. If you are reading it, then the request is not to critique the obvious, but to dream too.

Lazio do not have the stadium that has been purpose built for 2019, they don’t have the budget, the fan base is smaller than that of the Giallorossi and let’s be honest, the PR department is non-existent. English people especially hold Lazio close to their heart thanks to Paul Gascoigne and the romantic days that followed Italia 90, tip your hat to James Richardson and Channel 4. That in a way is another reason to enjoy Lazio’s success, as they bring back memories of all the greats from Beppe Signori to Juan Sebastian Veron.

Perhaps now it is time to be realistic, as despite the fact that Ciro Immobile is arguably having the best season of his life, it is a stretch to say Lazio can win the title. It would take Juventus first and foremost to implode. Despite the naysayers, the Turin-based club are still favourites, they have the best squad and they know how to win. It would be folly to ever talk about a title race without mentioning Juventus, as it is completely plausible that they could go on a 12-game unbeaten run at the drop of a hat.

So what of Inter? Antonio Conte and Beppe Marotta are not just constructing a dangerous team, they are building the foundations that could allow Inter to be the best team in Italy. Recognising potential is not easy, and Conte has understood quickly that this club he works for has a semi-suicidal nature. Getting rid of the ‘Pazza’ reputation has been a main objective and fans of the Nerazzurri can now honestly say that they are genuine title contenders.

So why not Lazio? Juventus could struggle to conform to Maurizio Sarri’s vision, Inter are always capable of implosion, so why not? Luis Alberto, Immobile and Joaquin Correa have discovered something special, but that is also the problem: they have a great XI and that’s it. Injuries cannot be afforded.

Luis Alberto’s ability to work between the lines is under-rated, as he has 11 Serie A assists this season, more than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues. Milinkovic-Savic is a beautiful and complete player, who breaks up the play and distributes the ball like a master artisan. Immobile and Correa have the pace and make the runs that are as direct as a fencer’s blow; they are at this moment, the perfect engine.

Mock the dream if you will, but for those with the ability to fantasise, think of this. Atalanta qualifying for the Champions League and Leicester City winning the English Premier League were both great moments. Did you not smile? It is unlikely that Lazio will be crowned kings of Italy, but at this moment in time, their form argues that they could be.

This is reason to dream, to get excited and in a world where there is so much negativity and poor form in the media, why can we not just have some fun?

Have your say...
@svetoslav - I agree about the the transfer policy and some of Sarri's tactical decisions..like playing a cleary ineffective, out of ideas and slow Khedira in the starting 11. Playing Berna as a trequartista still baffles me!! As for the new players..Ramsey seems to be constantly injured, Rabiot is not the right player for Juve and as for Ronaldo..RM must be laughing all the way to the bank!! Marotta also made a few cock ups himself. Having said that, I still think its too early to judge Sarri.
on the 11th December, 2019 at 9:01am
Well Mez i as juve fan am unhappy whit sarri becouse juventus is playing very very poorly,their worst foodball in last 9 years,juve transfer policy is very questionable ever since marota left.Ok they bring 33yo Ronaldo for 110mil but tyhey forget to bring players to give him proper crosses.Costa is great but he is injured all d time,and now they tal for wilian and haaland,and some other chelsea flops forgetin that our best wingback so far this season is Juan Cuadrado that says alot
on the 10th December, 2019 at 7:52pm
Its ridiculous how some Juve fans have reacted to this defeat!! All of a sudden...Ronaldo regrets his decision to have joined Juve. Sarri MUST be sacked. Pjanic is useless. Bonucci needs to be stripped off his capitancy. Bring back Allegri. Sack Paratici (they may have a case there). I bet it will all be forgotten if Inter lose their next game and Juve win theirs. IMO, we will not see the real Sarri Juve until March. So, more drama awaiting Juve, I'm afraid.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 4:35pm
why is everyone worried about Juve ? i remember when Juve with 12th in serie A at the point in the season and they STILL WON THE SCUDETTO !! Bonucci is no captain - strip it from him and give it to someone else and problems will be resolved on their own.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 3:41pm
Excellent result for LAZIO but i don't think SCUDETTO is their aim they should concentrate on Champions League Qualification BUT if they keep winning matches when they play UGLY then who knows they maybe can win it like Leicester City. I believe Inter Milan and Juventus will drop points in the season SO LAZIO can take advantage in the race. If Juventus don't win it this year they shouldn't sack SARRI cos they should remember Top Teams can't win the Scudetto all the time.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 3:23pm
I do hope Lazio can make a strong run for the title and I think that they can. Obviously if they finish in 2nd place behind a Juve that eventually finds its identity would be ideal.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 10:56am
Juve lost a battle but they have not lost the war yet. I would not be too hasty in calling the Sarri project a failure. Its a long season and every team is bound to lose games along the way. After the game against Inter, everyone was singing Sarri's praises and now he is a complete failure. His system is complex and takes time to implement. Give the man a chance and I am sure he will come good.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 9:24am
No thanks I'll pass, I'd even rather see Juve win it again. I used to hate Inter in Serie A, now I just can't stand Lazio for their incessant whining and blaming everybody but themselves for negative results. From the owner down to the players and coach, they're adamant the world is conspiring against them. Every bad result is down to refs cheating, extremely bad luck, or opponents playing dirty. I never had anything against them, but it's just become an ugly club in every way imaginable.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 5:06am
I agree with the previous comment. Lazio are notorious for starting strong then fall apart in the second half of the season. However, this season I can seem them earning a CL spot. Immobile is a scoring machine and hopefully he can continue. Currently he's got a clear 7 goal lead on second place. Some seasons have ended with cappocanonieres scoring 17 goals and we're not even halfway into the season.
on the 9th December, 2019 at 5:05am
Would be cool if Lazio made a run for it, but this is typical for them under Inzaghi. Do well the first half of the season then finish 7th.
on the 8th December, 2019 at 5:44pm
Pjanic at Juve is just ineffective. They position him to be a deep lying midfielder and he becomes ineffective. He become just a recycler of the ball, a sideways passer. At Roma he played further up and was involved in the attack with many vertical passes and this is actually where he excelled. He's not a Pirlo type player nor would he be effective so far back playing Sarri ball. Juve go down to 10 and Can is playing further up then Pjanic? I'm thinking Sarri and Juve mgmt are really clueless.
on the 8th December, 2019 at 5:19pm
Seein Juve get red card and Sarri kept them in oposition half insted of pulin them back to defend and try ounteratacs just shoked me how clueless he is to handle unexpected devolapments.After havin for so many years Max at bench, sarri look unprepared to be Juve coach!
on the 8th December, 2019 at 2:57pm
I am big juve fan, but so disappointed with what’s going on
Sarri is poor and if anything juve have gone 5-6 years backwards in all areas
No defence and midfield is the worse in top 5 Italian top teams !!
Don’t blame roni this season, why waste his energy on a team like that
Bet he regrets choosing juve to finish as would easy won ballon dor if he was not at juve
The funniest part is that dybala, kediri, Higuin, and matuidi HAD to be
Sold and now we do desperately can not do with out them.
on the 8th December, 2019 at 2:51pm
Sarri is joke he cant adapt at all.He have 4-5 Central defenders and no left and right backs but he insist on playin 4 man defence.Juve had one defender to do good crosses and they traded him for Danilo lolz.Taking Ronaldo and havin noone to deliver proper crosses is a bad joke on top of that we dont have proper striker that can benifit from Ronaldo goin on d wing.Goin ffrom team whit best defence to a team whiout defens in 2 monts is epic achivment by Sarri.#Sarriout
on the 8th December, 2019 at 2:48pm
Lazio played a great game so compliments to them. I have to say though Juve have gone backwards these past 2 months. We brought in Sarri to be the opposite of Allegri yet recently the team has offered really eye sore performances. I have to really wonder how hard it is to actually play quick one touch pass and move football. Gasperini seems to be doing it to perfection with far worse players so what's wrong with the Juve ones. I suspect a great deal of arrogance on their part is the problem.
on the 8th December, 2019 at 11:48am

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