Can Lazio win the Serie A Scudetto?
It has been 20 years since Lazio last won the Scudetto.
Behind the goalscoring of Marcelo Salas and the coaching of Sven-Goran
Eriksson, Lazio finished one point better off than Juventus. In the two decades
to follow Lazio’s only second-ever Scudetto, Serie A, and football in general,
has changed greatly.
Since winning the title at the turn of the century, Lazio
have finished no higher than third, which they did on three occasions. A
perennial Coppa Italia contender, Lazio have struggled to mount any type of
title challenge until the current campaign under the guise of coach Simone
Inzaghi. The coach is in just his third full season as Lazio boss although
there were two campaigns previously that Inzaghi was the fireman called in to
quell the disastrous reigns of both Stefano Pioli and Marcelo Bielsa.
Behind the goalscoring exploits of Ciro Immobile, Lazio are
top of Serie A after 26 matches. Their lead is slim with just two points
separating Juventus from returning to the summit of the Serie A mountain. The Bianconeri
even have a game in hand due to Sunday’s Derby d’Italia postponement due to the
coronavirus outbreak on the peninsula.
Despite Juventus’ game in hand, the Scudetto can still end
up in the capital with Lazio lifting it in May. It may have sounded an unlikely
possibility when Lazio finished eighth last term, but Inzaghi has a squad of
players all pulling together to win the title.
Lazio have bagged 60 goals in 26 rounds of football.
Twenty-seven of those goals, or 45%, have come from Immobile. The Italian
all of Europe in the race for the top scorer award. When Lazio have needed
a big goal this season, more times than not it has been Immobile popping up to
score it. But to say Lazio are a one-man team would be foolish.
Immobile has simply enjoyed a career season thanks to the
ensemble of players around him. Former Liverpool flop Luis Alberto has
rediscovered his best form. His 12 assists lead Serie A, while Immobile has
tallied seven assists of his own. Immobile has had a hand in 34 goals for the
Biancocelesti, which is 57% of Lazio’s scoring. Still, Lazio are more than
The Alberto-Immobile combination has accounted for four
Lazio goals while Alberto and Joaquin Correa have teamed up for four goals as
well. With Alberto pulling the strings as the team’s creative midfielder, the
attack has flourished.
Although Lazio are more than Immobile, there are still
questions surrounding Lazio’s title charge if he goes down with a long-term
injury. Felipe Caicedo has eight goals, the second-most for Lazio this term.
The problem of having one central striker means there is often a fall-off in
goals from the rest of the squad despite capable players being available.
When Lazio won the Scudetto in 1999-2000, they didn’t have a
runaway goalscorer. Salas bagged 12 goals while Juan Sebastian Veron had eight.
Looking down the squad list from the club’s last Scudetto win, one name stands
out. That is the name of Inzaghi, who scored seven times in Serie A to help
Lazio win the league.
There is still a long way to go in the Serie A season. Lazio
have 12 more games to play, Juventus must play 13, and depending on the coronavirus,
more games could be postponed. The Biancocelesti do not have an easy set of
fixtures. They will meet Atalanta in their next Serie A game before facing
Fiorentina, Torino, and AC Milan in consecutive weeks. Then there is a showdown
with Juventus in Turin on the 26th of April prior to finishing the
season away to Napoli a month later.
Lazio can win the Scudetto, but two things must happen.
Firstly, Lazio must continue to win games. Secondly, they need Juventus to slip
up. If both occur, the Lazio can win just their third Scudetto in their