The Exigent Duality
Bravo Mister - 16:51 CST, 2/15/24 (Sniper)
I was justifiably critical of Maurizio Sarri in this post-- but maybe, just maybe, he will be able to, or already has, won back the dressing room? It's more tempting to write when things go poorly, because it's a way to vent frustration-- but this time, I'm going to write because things went well.

Yesterday, Lazio looked like a phenomenally well-coached team. For all of Sarri's reputation as being the ultimate "drill master" and an expert in match-day preparations, one of my issues with him is that his players seldom look like that's the case: every game, we play the same ineffective tactics, which are stale and predictable, and never do we look like we have a "custom gameplan" for the opponent-at-hand.

But against Bayern Munich yesterday, the team looked every bit a side that validates Sarri's reputation, whether earned or not. I know Bayern are not at their best right now, and I couldn't get over that their coach had his face in his hands in the sixtieth minute, in the first leg of a two-legged tie, with the score at 0-0-- but even with that said, it was obvious that Sarri had his team drilled: every single man knew his job, was one hundred percent committed to performing it, and for the first time this entire season the squad played to its full potential.

Outside of our best-in-the-Lotito-era crop of defenders, the rest of the squad-- especially with Zaccagni injured-- very much has a patchwork feel to it, exacerbated by having two of our four top-value players in Alberto plus Kamada being played out of position due to the formation. But it's still a squad with over two hundred million Euro worth of players: I would expect that minimally we should look organized, well-drilled, be playing with a clear plan.

Bologna have a significantly worse team than us, but look at what Thiago Motta is doing with them at the moment! That's the caliber of performance I expect from a Maurizio Sarri team, and I'm cautiously optimistic that this Bayern Munich result is where the wheels went back on the Lazio car. I'd like nothing more than for Sarri to be "Lazio's Gasperini", where he sticks around and gives us a fighting chance each season. Crossing fingers...

I'd also like to remark that I don't think Ciro is "done", as I'd previously thought: I think his lack of productivity isn't as much down to his age as it's been down to the team moving the ball way too slowly. Harry Kane has scored something like twenty eight goals in thirty one appearances for Bayern-- but yesterday, one would scarcely have know he was on the pitch.

When a center forward is starved of service, he looks pedestrian. Over the past handful of appearances, Ciro has looked more or less like his prior self: running the channels, getting really good shots on goal, and opportunistically poaching. Barring some insane offer like thirty million Euro for a thirty four year-old player, if I were Lotito I would be very much trying to talk Ciro into signing a new multi-year deal, so he can end his career with us.

Non-Lazio Related Musings

I saw a comment on an article today, reflecting on the state of contemporary music and written by someone who grew up during the 60s and 70s, "As a youth I never imagined I would have to listen to the same old music for my entire life." Boy can I relate to that, when it comes to video games!

Here is a superb reflection on Tucker's interview with Putin, a topic I wrote about here. Putin told the West, "If you want, instead of living in a world which no longer exists, you can join the rest of in cooperation and mutual trade." The author of the article takes a similar approach: "It doesn't matter if you think Putin's analysis of history is correct-- the point is he thinks it's correct, and if you want to negotiate with him, you need to acknowledge that this is where he stands on the issue."

Switching gears, remember when I wrote here that Sony appeared to be following the same path as Microsoft, who went an entire year and didn't release a single first-party game? Sure enough, Sony says that it is not going to release any major games before March 2025. They've also said in recent days that the PlayStation 5 is already on the winding down period of its life. It's mind boggling what a terrible console it has been: I think it has surpassed the Nintendo 64 as the worst video game system I've ever owned.

It also sounds like Sony is inevitably going to move toward the "game releases on Windows, on day one" approach just like Microsoft did a handful of years ago. As much that would be convenient for me, as I have a cutting-edge gaming PC, I miss the Sony of a few years ago: what happened to "we believe in generations", and wanting to continue serving conventional gamers with custom hardware and single player games? Alas, they are a corporation, and corporations always need to "grow"-- there is no such thing as "enough."