Alasdair Mackenzie Date: 1st September 2019 at 10:15pm
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A penny for Chris Smalling’s thoughts. The Manchester United centre-back warmed the bench for Paulo Fonseca’s side after completing his loan move on Friday and it’s unlikely he was greeted with the kind of performance he expected.

Roma’s backline was torn apart at will by the Biancocelesti and they had their rivals’ wastefulness to thank for avoiding another three-goal – or more – haul being put past them just a week after the Genoa debacle.

Fonseca tinkered with the team that shipped three last week by introducing new signings Gianluca Mancini and Davide Zappacosta, only for the latter to pull out during the warm-up.

Whether Smalling will be the man to instill the backbone this team desperately needs is a question that has kept plenty of fans busy since his signing was announced, but the Lupi coach must find an answer to the same problem that plagued Eusebio Di Francesco – or risk ultimately suffering the same fate as the current Sampdoria boss.

Wastefulness costs Lazio again

The second half of Lazio’s 2018/19 campaign was characterised by their ability to create bucket loads of chances without finishing them off.

That cost the Aquile, as they slide down to a disappointing eighth-place finish because of their profligacy.

Last weekend’s demolition job on Sampdoria suggested that Simone Inzaghi’s side have put those issues behind them, only for cool heads to go missing in the heat of a derby battle on Sunday.

There was certainly an element of bad luck, with millimetres denying them as the woodwork was struck four times, but ending the game with 23 shots and one goal to show for it underlined their wastefulness.

All in all it was an encouraging performance from Inzaghi’s men, but they need to turn these small margins in their favour if they are to finally clinch a top four spot this season.