Stefano Pioli’s Milan face a difficult trip to Rome to play Scudetto contenders Lazio on Saturday night, as they look to avenge the 2-1 defeat Simone Inzaghi’s side inflicted on them earlier in the season.
Lazio have enjoyed a magnificent campaign so far. They have defied the odds and find themselves competing for the Serie A title, while also going on a historic 21-game unbeaten run – which Atalanta finally ended last week. Le Aquile have been somewhat unconvincing following their return to football, however, earning narrow victories against Fiorentina and Torino in addition to their loss to Atalanta.
It’s been another turbulent season for Milan, who have been beset by managerial changes, inconsistent form and poor signings. I Rossoneri began Serie A’s resumption brightly, emphatically beating Lecce before earning a credible victory at home to Roma.
But then, in typical Milan fashion, they put in a poor performance against the virtually-relegated SPAL, drawing 2-2. Pioli’s side currently occupy the final Europa League spot, though the likes of Hellas Verona, Cagliari and Parma are hot on their tail.
For Lazio, Senad Lulic, Luiz Felipe, Lucas Leiva and Bobby Adekanye are all out injured. Their main problem for the game against Milan, however, is the lack of options up front.
Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo are both suspended, meaning Joaquin Correa is the only striker available. Andre Anderson or Luis Alberto could deputise, while there has even been talk of centre back Bastos starting up front.
Milan, meanwhile, will have to make do without centre backs Leo Duarte and Mateo Musacchio. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed I Rossoneri’s first two matches post-lockdown through a calf injury, came on for the last 25 minutes of their draw against SPAL, so could feature against Lazio.
Lazio: Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Cataldi, Milnkovic-Savic, Parolo, Jony; Luis Alberto, Correa.
Milan: Donnarumma; Conti, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Bennacer, Kessie, Castillejo, Paqueta, Rebic; Ibrahimovic.
Lazio’s form has been mixed following Italian football’s resumption in June. Their 21-game unbeaten run was ended by Atalanta, while victories against Fiorentina and Torino – however important they were to Lazio’s Scudetto campaign – were underwhelming. It’s worth noting, however, that Lazio are unbeaten at the Olimpico – at least in Serie A – this season.
Milan too have had a mixed start. They won convincingly against Lecce and Roma, but were uninspiring as they drew 2-2 to relegation-threatened SPAL. Gli Spallani were 2-0 up for the majority of the match – despite playing the second-half with just ten men – and were only foiled by two late goals, one of which was an own goal.
Here is how Lazio and Milan have performed over their last five games.
Torino 1-2 Lazio (30/6)
Lazio 2-1 Fiorentina (27/6)
Atalanta 3-2 Lazio (24/6)
Lazio 2-0 Bologna (29/2)
Genoa 2-3 Lazio (23/2)
SPAL 2-2 Milan (1/7)
Milan 2-0 Roma (28/6)
Lecce 1-4 Milan (22/6)
Juventus 0-0 Milan (12/6)
Milan 1-2 Genoa (8/3)
The absence of Lazio’s two top scorers – Immobile and Caicedo – is sure to be felt by Inzaghi’s side, who could face a difficult task in scoring against I Rossoneri.
This is Milan, however, and you wouldn’t put it past them to not take advantage of this. It looks set to be a tight contest.
Prediction: Lazio 1-1 Milan