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Hello! I've done some analysis on the sub before and I'm making a solid effort to keep up with leagues other than the PL. Starting things off with Lazio vs Napoli. Please let me know if you see anything I've missed or messed up.

Quick note on the differences between Serie A and the PL. I know it's only one game I've seen but everything was much more measured and composed vs. the PL. The best example I can think of is that several times I saw one team pick up the ball and the opposition would press them. In the PL usually the pressing player gets very close and/or tackles to win the ball back. A lot of times this game the pressing player would get within 2 yards, quickly transition into a defensive stance, and try to contain the player rather than fly in. Just an interesting difference between leagues

Setup and Approach

Lazio

Lazio setup in a 3-5-2 with the fullbacks staying pretty high and wide while Badelj often sat in the 6 role to prevent the 3 CBs from getting isolated against Napoli's high press. In attack they looked to get the ball into the middle third of the field before finding Immobile in a channel. He floated off to the left a lot however he was often very isolated as the midfield and Luis Alberto struggled to support him in the final third. Lazio pressured Napoli very hard first half but struggled to get anything out of their dominance as Immobile was too isolated to be of too much threat although he still got them the lead through a very nice bit of solo play and some terrible defending from Napoli.

Second half was more of the same until the goal. The Correa sub let them switch formations to a 4-2-3-1 and get more men forwards to chase a goal. They did get more men in support of Immobile with the change, but struggled to create much of note. Lazio will feel a bit hard done by as they performed really well overall and were let down by some individually poor performances.

Napoli

Napoli setup in a 4-3-3 although it was pretty fluid and they stuck to a 4-4-2 in defense with one of Insigne or Callejon joining Milik up top. Their fullbacks also pushed high to create something of a 2-5-3 in attack with Insigne and Callejon sitting narrow at first. Their main plan in attack was to use the fullbacks and Hamsik to move the ball into the middle third and release balls into the channel just like Lazio. The two key differences first half were that Lazio were a lot more accurate with their through balls and Napoli had a lot more men in support when they did get someone in behind.

This difference became more important second half as Insigne and Callejon started to drift inside and join the midfield to give passing options and move the ball forward. Insigne in particular was very dangerous in this kind of free role and created the first foal in the first half by drifting in the the half space on the left and playing a nice diagonal ball to Callejon. After the second goal Napoli started to sit deeper and look to hit Lazio on the counter. They had limited success as their final ball on the counter was usually poor. However they did an excellent job seeing out the game and snuffing out the majority of Lazio's attacks

Key Points

  1. Support: Mentioned above but Immobile was so isolated for large parts of the game. His movement was fantastic but he so often had no one to interplay with once he got free in the final third. Contrast this to Napoli with their fluid midfield and mobile wingers, they almost always had passing options available as they moved the ball forward and the constant attacking in the second half led to the winner.
  2. Wide areas: Napoli used them a lot more effectively than Lazio did. For the first 20-25 minutes the Lazio wingbacks were getting forward really well but it dried up afterwards and again Immobile was left isolated after drifting into a channel and receiving the ball. For reference, Napoli's wide players(wingers/fullbacks) combined for 6 key passes and 11 crosses while Lazio's(wingbacks and eventual wingers plus Immobile) combined for 3 key passes and 3 crosses, 2 of which were Immobile
  3. Midfield battle: Again, Napoli in general used it better than Lazio. Badelj did a great job helping Lazio move out of the defensive third but Parolo was a passenger for the most part and SMS had a hot and cold game. On the flip side Hamsik was a constant option to recycle possession and Allan was everywhere. The fluidity of their midfield allowed them to easily move the ball up the field and get it into dangerous areas in the final third once their execution improved
  4. Substitutes
    1. Bastos > Luiz Felipe: not super sure what this was for unless Felipe had an injury. Pretty like for like sub and Lazio were very well structured for most of the first half
    2. Correa > Badelj
      1. Switched formation to try to get more men forward. Didn’t do a whole lo in his time on the field but had a few bright spots
    3. Diawara > Hamsik
      1. Reaction to Lazio’s switch to give the midfield and defense more cover. Did a good job breaking up attacks and recycling possession
    4. Mertens > Insigne
      1. Think this was for fresh legs and to avoid injury. Mertens was pretty mediocre for his time on the field. Messed up a great chance to go up 3-1 on a counter and did little else
    5. Rog > Zielenski
      1. Fresh legs again I’m assuming. Zielenski had a solid performance and this didn’t do much to change the flow of the game
    6. Cataldi > Parolo
      1. I’m assuming this was an attacking sub, but I know little about Cataldi and he had very little time to affect the game. Lazio did have a good chance to equalize after he came on, but he had almost nothing to do with it

Key Players

  1. Immobile: Was a constant thorn in Napoli's side with his movement. Got free a ton of times but again was isolated and unable to nfluence the game heavily. His goal was a great piece of skill and finishing and he arguably could have had an assist off a couple of chances he created. Was Lazio's best player for me
  2. Allan: he was everywhere for Napoli, especially in the second half. Was tracking back and defending well then bursting forward to offer options and play people in behind.
  3. Koulibaly: despite the error for Immobile's goal, he was very good. Made a bunch of clearances and interceptions as well as played well with the ball at his feet. Seemed to be the player that others always looked for to kind of "reset" possession and did it well starting the attacks from the back
  4. Badelj: did well in Lazio's midfield to help defend the back 3 and move the ball forward. Did the dirty work and was a large part of their success first half IMO. I actually think I would have subbed Parolo over Badelj
  5. Insigne: Was fantastic this game. Had trouble getting into the game first half, but created the first goal with a beautiful ball and terrorized Lazio in the second half. His movement and passing gave Lazio constant problems
  6. SMS: really mixed game for him. He had some really nice passes and dribbles but also gave possession away a lot of under or over hit a few passes. Showed flashed of his ability but Lazio will want more out of him

Final Thoughts

Creb's MotM: on first watch I thought it was Allan, but after watching again I think I have to give it to Insigne. Created the first goal before getting one himself and was a constant threat with his movement, dribbling, and passing

Lazio: Solid first half performance but fairly weak in the second half. Really need to work out the support issue for Immobile. He was very dangerous and with more men forward I think Lazio could have gotten more out of this game. Luis Alberto was relatively anonymous which was a big part of the problem

Napoli: Positive signs for Napoli, especially with their front 3 and midfield. Defense got caught out a bit but adjusted well afterwards. Need to work on starting strong as they won't always get the chance to reverse their fortunes in the second half like today. With some better play in the first half Lazio could have almost put the game out of sight.

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