The start of 2016 has been a curious one for Lazio.
With a 0-0 draw at home to Carpi making their heroics against Inter before the break look like a complete fluke, the Biancocelesti instead silenced their critics with a thrilling 3-1 defeat of Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi days later.
As the two matches left Serie A fans scratching their heads and raising their eyebrows, Lazio will likely feel some sense of shame in failing to capitalize against the Biancorossi but remain confident in the way they condemned the Viola to just their second home loss this season.
Beginning with the match at Carpi, it can be argued that Stefano Pioli’s men simply failed to win due to their complete inability to hit the target from a whopping 15 shots attempted. Carpi headed into the match with the worst defensive record in away games for all Serie A teams, and ended up coming away with their first 0-0 draw in 42 matches.
More troubling for the capital club is that they’d previously acquired 17 of their 23 points at home, but now seem to be under more pressure than support from the Stadio Olimpico crowd.
When considering a far tougher clash on the following weekend against Fiorentina, Stefano Pioli used his psychic superpowers as he hinted that his side knows how to embarass the Gigliati in his pre-match press conference. Despite the Aquile’s form this season suggesting low expectations, the stats tell a different story in recent years with Fiorentina losing four out of the last five encounters against Lazio.
Pioli was absolutely right, as Keita Balde’s first half goal brought a crucial lead just before the half-time break, which Lazio made sure to keep hold of thanks to a much deserved goal from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic late on and an insurance marker by Felipe Anderson moments later. Abdoulay Konko rounded off an improved performance by Lazio as he made up for some sloppiness that nearly cost the match against Carpi and averted heavy pressure from a Fiorentina side that hogged the majority of possession.
Thus Lazio’s newfound strength on the road could be a massive boost to their hopes for salvaging their rough patch en route to the halfway point of Serie A.
A tricky match away to Bologna next Sunday will give the team another chance to prove their mettle as they push for a coveted spot in European competition, a match for which you can click here to get something extra for the start in your betting, but soon after they’ll need all the support at home they can get in the Coppa Italia tie with Juventus next Wednesday.