Lotito, Lazio Looking To Move Past Inter to Top of Serie A Standings

James RiggioContributor ISeptember 28, 2010

Lotito has seen his team sneak into a first-place tie in Serie A this season.
Lotito has seen his team sneak into a first-place tie in Serie A this season.Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

He is not the most popular man in Rome and he isn’t trying to be. He has faced death threats for much of his tenure as the owner and president of Lazio.

Although so many others have made their recommendations for the club, Lotito has followed his own gut feeling on how to run the club. It is now paying off.

Lotito took over the club in 2004. Two years before, the club’s then-president Sergio Cragnotti went bankrupt, leaving the club on the verge of collapse. Attorney Ugo Longo took charge of the team for the 2002-03 season, before handing it off to Lotito.

Since being in charge, Lotito has kept the club in Serie A. Lazio has remained in Serie A longer than all but three other clubs. He has trimmed payrolls, had confrontations with players and fans but has achieved the two main objectives of remaining in Serie A both statistically and financially.

Now after five matches in the 2010-11 season, Lotito’s club has snuck into a first-place tie with five-time defending league champion Inter with 10 points. Lazio is expected to stay at the top for long, but Lazio’s start certainly deserves an applause.

In the summer, Lotito sold wing back Aleksander Kolarov to Manchester City for about 20 times the amount he paid for him. He re-invested some of the money to buy Brazilian playmaker Hernanes, who so far has shown he was a very good acquisition.

Lazio will try to add on three points this weekend when it hosts recently promoted Brescia. Brescia has also started out the season strong. It has gained nine points through five matches and is tied with Chievo for third place with nine points.

The match should be interesting as one of the keys to Brescia’s success has been the play of veteran goalkeeper Matteo Sereni, who was once a Lazio player and is certainly not on Lotito’s list of best friends.

Week 6 of the Serie A schedule should be an interesting one.

The week starts with Udinese hosting Cesena on Saturday. While the season is still young, this match has become almost a must-win for Udinese as it picked up just one point and remains in last place. Cesena, with the lowest payroll in the league, is coming off of a 4-1 thrashing by Napoli.

Also on Saturday, AC Milan will visit Parma. The Rossoneri will be looking to pick up three points on the road, but it will be easy. Parma is without playmaker Sebastian Giovinco and Milan is still missing Massimo Ambrosini and Alexandre Pato.

In action on Sunday, Leece hosts Catania to start the day. Both sides will look to get three points as they both attempt to get to the 40-point mark (presumed number for salvation in Serie A) as fast as they can.

Marco Di Vaio-led Bologna hosts Sampdoria, which appears to be virtually at full strength. Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini will be looking to show they are in top form so they can both get called to the national team for Euro 2012 qualifiers in October.

Chievo will host Cagliari in a battle of overachievers. Chievo could be without star attacker Sergio Pellissier, but Cagliari appears to have much of its lineup healthy, with the exception being veteran Daniele Conti.

Fiorentina will host Palermo in what should be an interesting match of two of the most talented sides in the league. Both sides have struggled in the early going,  but Fiorentina earned a weekend victory over Parma and Palermo defeated Juventus on the road last week.

Genoa hosts Bari in a match it will be looking to gain three points in. Genoa had a huge summer in the transfer market, but has just five points from five matches and is no doubt certainly disappointed with the start to the season.

Napoli will host AS Roma in a battle of two clubs with probably the most loyal fan bases of any clubs in Italy. Roma has struggled to start the season, despite a 1-0 weekend win over Inter. Napoli’s Edinson Cavani is tied for the league lead in goals with five.

The week wraps up with an Italian classic as Inter hosts Juventus.

Both sides could be tired as Inter will be coming off of a Champions League match with Werder Bremen and Juventus will have hooked up with Manchester City in a Europa League match. Both sides always bring their “A” game for this match as this intense rivalry is watched by many around the globe.