By Amanda Bernard
Luis Alberto was considered the key man for Lazio as almost all of their dangerous movements versus Bologna came from him. In the first five minutes, he had entered the penalty area and stolen the ball, while also creating several chances on goal.
His build-up play was impressive in the first 20 minutes, as the only chance not to come from him was when Lucas Leiva put through Joaquin Correa to shoot, only for the striker to miss.
For the first, Correa stole the ball then gave it to Ciro Immobile. At the same time, Alberto moved to the right side of the penalty area, and Immobile gave him the ball to score a beautiful goal.
Before Lazio’s second goal, Bologna had twice the number of chances to equalise. Lazio’s number 10 advanced with the ball at his feet and passed to Correa to slide straight into the back of the net. Luis Alberto is one of Lazio’s most interesting players as he can recover the ball and immediately create a chance for a teammate.
The Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto duo is one of Serie A’s most exciting. They complete each other, especially when it comes to defending. Whilst Simone Inzaghi has shared his formation as a 3-5-2, the true configuration is a 3-4-3.
For example, at 33 minutes Milinkovic-Savic received the ball and gave it to Correa, who passed through to Jony Rodriguez who tried a through ball. Luis Alberto was not in the attacking line but instead between the midfield and the defenders, like a third or fourth defensive man. While he has shown to be lacking a bit of pace, he acts as the maestro in midfield, giving space to Jony, Manuel Lazzari, and Milinkovic-Savic to help Immobile and Correa in attack.
In the second half, Luis Alberto started as a left winger. His short time at Barcelona B seems to have had a great effect on him as many of his most interesting attributes look to be lifted from the position play made famous by Pep Guardiola.
What made an impact on Lazio’s game was the way that all the midfielders could complete each other. At 48 minutes, Milinkovic-Savic received the ball and gave it to Lazarri, who returned it to Milinkovic-Savic. The Serbian saw Luis Alberto, who at the beginning of this movement was running on the other side, and passed out to him, who likewise knocked it on to Jony, who passed it back to Milinkovic-Savic. Lucas acted as the bodyguard behind them.
How the team recovered from the loss of Luis Alberto
When Luis Alberto was substituted, Lazio’s midfield immediately looked less creative. Milinkovic-Savic became the main creator. Bologna created two chances on the left side as Marco Parolo doesn’t do enough defensively.
Bologna then have changed their tactics and started to attack the other side. Despite the switch of sides, Parolo still gave Bologna too much scope to attack. He didn’t help the team offensively or defensively.
The way that Luis Alberto has helped the team this season goes far beyond what was expected. He has shown every single time that he is different and a classic number 10 that in Brazil we call the meia de futebol clássico (midfielder of classic football).
This kind of player is rare in modern football. The way that he helped the team defensively and in attack shows that he is multifunctional on the pitch, which allows the coach to find more uses for him and get the best from him. He isn’t a limited player, the opposite of it.
Lazio without him had to sacrifice Lucas and especially Milinkovic-Savic from their roles, making them more predictable than before.
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