Lazio 2016/17 Serie A season preview: The key is to be stable to reach Europe

After Marco Bielsa broke the contract with just two days as a coach, there has been much turmoil in the capital club. Simone Inzaghi is back on the training ground the next year, fans are perplexed and the team overall seem thin.

Lazio 2016/17 Serie A season preview: The key is to be stable to reach Europe
Lazio 2016/17 Serie A season preview | Photo: Cammy Anderson/VAVEL

How did it go last year?

Last season was affected by a particularly unstable sporting management. After the third place in Serie A 2014/2015 they did not manage to strengthen the team appreciably into the CL-playoff match against Bayer Leverkusen.  The Biancocolesti got knocked out, and the players began to doubt the club’s project. In addition, several players were tired after the Copa America and a tough seasons, as well as missing the central line (De Vrij, Biglia, Klose). After six straight defeats away from home the crisis was a fact. Lazio cam gradually back in mode – and a good home record (five straight wins) did that they escaped the relegation battle.

Objectives for the coming season

Lazio is a team that always must be counted on when we are speaking about a spot for Europe. The capital club is having a lot of traditions but we must go back to 1999-2000 last time they took the Scudetto.

Matches – First opening games, closing games and derbies

21.8.2016 20:00 1.Round              Atalanta – Lazio               Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia
27.8.2016 18:00 2.Round              Lazio – Juventus              Stadio Olimpico
11.9.2016 15:00 3.Round              Cheivo – Lazio                  Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi
18.9.2016 15:00 4.Round              Lazio – Pescara                 Stadio Olimpico
21.9.2016 20:45 5.Round              Milan – Lazio                     San Siro
25.9.2016 15:00 6.Round              Lazio – Empoli                   Stadio Olimpico

Transfers – Ins and outs

Primarily we can take incoming players, first man to enter the gates at the Stadio Olimpico was Belgian Jordan Lukaku (Romelu Lukaku’s little brother). Ciro Immobile is finally back in Serie A and the Neapolitan have already fallen in love with the Eternal City. The former Juventus-, Genoa-. Torino- and Dortmund player hope that a stay in Lazio can give him a upswing in his career.

Antonio Candreva is going to be missed in that he has been involved in 61 goals (38 goals, 23 assists) in the last 4 seasons of Serie A, which is more than any other midfielder. Lotito is going to have a hard job to replace him, but it is necessary to hire someone who can replace the Italian, for it is thin to let Ravel Morrison to take over without fuses. A goal machine in the form of Miroslav Klose will also be noticed as he has registered for duty in Turkey with Galatasaray.

Key players

Ciro Immobile: Last time the neapolitan played in Serie A, he scored 22 goals for Giampiero Ventura’s Torino during 2013/2014 season. But his spell in Italy, he has not managed to make a name of himself in Europe. When he was presented as Lazio player he told the press, “This season wil be the yer of resurgence – I hope for me and Lazio’s part that we can do great things togheter.” Immobile will come to play an important role as Miroslav Klose is gone from Rome. If the Italian finds the form he had during his time in Torino this will become a man to fear.

Lucas Biglia: The Argentinian came to Lazio before 2013 season and has really played himself into the hearts of Lazio fans. He is not a player who steals the headlines, but he will be a key player for this Lazio team. The defensive midfielder is a type that does the grunt jobs in the team; he manages to intercept the opponent and creates an imbalance in them. And last year there were only three other players in the series that had a better percentage on passes than the 29-year-old with his 88%

Stefan de Vrij: A lot of people believed that the Biancocelesti had made a great deal when they took the Dutchman for 7 million euros from Feyenoord after the World Cup in 2014, where he also had a key role under Louis Van Gaal. First season with Lazio went brilliant as they took the 3rd place and secured Champions League playoff. But then the disaster started. The 24-year-old was traveling on international duties in September, when he came back again; he had a knee injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season. But when we are talking about the Serie A 2014/2015 season he showed he was good for being one of the best defenders in the league, and if he stays injury free he may prove to be among the best this season also.

Manager - Has there been a change? The right man for the job?

In April Stefano Poli had to go after another derby loose against city rivals Roma, and in came Primavera coach Simone Inzaghi - who lacked experience in the top level. It turned out so so, but there was never any doubt that the team would get a new coach. Now Inzaghi is back in the manager's chair with a one-year contract in hand, and a long pre-season must be used very well to be fighting for Europe in 2016/2017.

Will they reach their objectives?

It remains to see if the team can clean up the mess oneself has put themselves into. The trust to Tare and Lotito is frayed to the bone, and it is difficult to predict how Curva Nord welcomes the players to the first home game last weekend in August.