Lazio – Match Report vs Fiorentina (05/02/2022)

7th played 8th in this Serie A clash, with Fiorentina still reeling from losing their top goal scorer Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus and it showed in their performance losing at home 3-0 to Lazio. Goals from Milinkovic-Savic, talisman Ciro Immobile and an own goal from Biraghi sealed all 3 points for The Aquile which fired Maurizio Sarri’s much improved team up into the top 6 of the Serie A standings. Everybody knows about the talents of Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile, who were instrumental in this game, but in some Italian outlets the man of the match was given to lesser known Mattia Zaccagni, who will be the main focus of my scout report.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Mattia Zaccagni

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Age: 26
  • Date of birth: 16/06/1995
  • Current club: Lazio
  • Career: Hellas Verona
  • Position: Midfielder/Attacker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Mattia Zaccagni could be described as a late bloomer, finally realising his potential at the age of 26. His lack of statistics has perhaps hindered him over the course of his career with him often being referred to as the player before the assist. But this all changed for Mattia last season at Hellas Verona with a number of eye-catching displays and statistics to back up his undoubted talent, Lazio came calling and Mattia finally had the chance of playing for one of Italy’s biggest clubs. Up until Ivan Juric took over Hellas Verona in 2019, Mattia had often played in centre midfield and was often referred to as a “box to box midfielder” but Juric could see Zaccagni’s natural attacking flair and his dribbling ability, Juric wanted him closer to goal and would often play Mattia as one of the two number 10’s in the 3-4-2-1 formation which has helped push Zaccagni onto another level.

In this particular game Mattia Zaccagni’s excellent close control and acceleration are there for all to see, his ability to evade pressure and get out of tight spaces was also excellent. Zaccagni played on the left of a front 3, playing wide and stretching the play, a frustrating first half for Mattia was summed up after he snatched at a chance in the 36th minute after the ball was rebounded back to him from a Pedro shot, Zaccagni showed a lack of composure a sliced the ball over the bar. On numerous occasions Mattia positioned himself in good attacking situations in the first half but did not receive the ball and the frustration was obvious by Mattia’s body language. This is backed up statistically by having the least touches in the match with only 34, but when he did receive the ball wide on the left-hand side he played a wonderful outside of the boot through ball to Milinkovic-Savic to open the scoring. Smart link up play and quick first-time passes are also part of Mattia’s game.

The second half was different and Lazio used him more often playing the ball into his feet and more often that not he was fouled before he was allowed to turn and run at defenders. Physically he is strong in possession especially the upper body and draws fouls very well by using his frame to get in between the man and the ball, aggressive in the tackle winning 7 out of his 8 duels.

Out of possession it was obvious that Sarri was happy for Fiorentina to pass the ball between the Goalkeeper and the centre backs but as soon as the ball was played wide Zaccagni and Pedro were asked to press in wide positions. Zaccagni pressed well at time but at other times was misjudged due to lack of concentration, he did however track back well and help out his Left Back Marusic especially in the first half when Fiorentina dominated in spells.

In conclusion Mattia Zaccagni is good to watch on the eye, neat control, good technique and decent acceleration with 4 goals and 4 assists so far in Serie A this season he has certainly improved his numbers. If Mattia wants to go to the next level however he needs to do more and certainly receive or demand the ball more off his team mates and stamp his authority ahead of the likes of Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile, there is no doubt he has raw ability.

Rating- B1/A2

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