30 October 2006

Lazio 0-0 Reggina: frustration

Oddo can't stand it. Many Laziali can't either. After drawing 0-0 with Empoli at the Olimpico on Sunday, Lazio has scored just one goal in their previous four matches. (In their one match before that, they scored four goals as they shamed Torino.)

What is so wrong with Lazio? Actually, very little except for a distinct lack of ability to convert good chances. First, Goran Pandev has done nothing all season, literally: he has not yet recorded a goal. However, Delio Rossi has unflagging confidence in him, and Pandev will be a starting striker for Lazio as long as he is not injured or disqualified. We got to see what the Lazio attack would look like without Pandev this past Sunday since he was serving a one-game disqualification for his red card against Samp. Honestly, Igli Tare looked better than Goran has all season. Although he was unable to convert, Tare was successfully challenging for the ball and generating chances. Tommaso Rocchi was in usual form, getting more attention from the linesman raising the flag on him than from anyone else. We also got to see what happens if Lazio plays with three strikers, when Rossi put in Inzaghino in the late second half. The defensive midfield collapsed upon itself and Reggina got their only serious chances of the day. It's obvious that the 4-4-2 is still best for Lazio and that a switch to a 4-3-3 would take a lot of practice. One final note on the offense: Stephen Makinwa will be back on the bench against Empoli, which will give Delio Rossi even more flexibility with his striking force.

The past three games have proved one thing about the biancoceleste defense: Massimo Oddo is definitely their core. Consider Lazio's last seven games. Oddo has played in five of them; in those five matches, Lazio has recorded clean sheets every time. Oddo was disqualified for two of them: in those two, Lazio conceded five goals. Certainly this is a concern for Rossi, since relying too much in one man is always dangerous.

But since the defense is essentially sound as long as Oddo and Peruzzi play, Lazio must focus on the offensive production. They tried desperately to put the ball in the back of the net at the end of the match, crashing the box with three strikers. Even the last-ditch attempt in the waning seconds of stoppage time came close. But Reggina's defense also collapsed, dropping as many men back as possible in order to salvage a point on the road. Their plan worked, and despite Lazio's domination of the possession and flow of play, the score remained at zeroes. It is frustrating for Lazio, certainly, but it should be no cause for panic.

1 comment:

Marcel Sobieski said...

Exactly, FRUSTRATION, nothing else.

Solo Lazio!
Ave Lazio!