Having suffered a very unfortunate defeat to Napoli, Lazio players will be very motivated to make amends by defeating out-of-sorts AC Milan on Saturday evening. The Rossoneri further damaged their Champions League hopes by losing at home to Atalanta, and they could find it hard to match the Biancocelesti at their Stadio Olimpico.
Costly defeat to Napoli
New Lazio boss Stefano Pioli needed a while to get his expensively assembled squad playing to its potential, but the Biancocelesti eventually hit the ground running and climbed to third in the Serie A standings. The Stadio Olimpico outfit showed a great deal of consistency from the start of December up to date, producing some very good performances in the process, and winning five of seven matches in all competitions, while sharing spoils with Inter and Roma. As a result, Lazio went into the high-profile clash against Napoli full of confidence and they in turn played some good football despite missing the in-form Felipe Anderson, but they eventually had to settle for a narrow defeat despite completely outplaying their top 3 rivals. Nevertheless, Stefano Pioli’s charges can draw confidence from yet another impressive display and as long as they are playing at a very high level, the results will improve as well. The hosts will welcome back two important players in Federico Marchetti and Stefano Mauri, and they should have enough in them to return to winning ways against struggling AC Milan.
Federivo Marchetti returns from suspension, but Lucas Biglia and Stefan de Vrij are doubtful and Anderson, Lulic, Gonzalez, Ederson, Ciani, Braafheid and Gentiletti remain sidelined.
Problems continue to mount
While showing some promise in certain games, AC Milan have been terribly inconsistent this season, which is enough to suggest there is still a lot of work in front of inexperienced coach Filippo Inzaghi. With team’s attackers scoring exactly one league goal behind them, it is perfectly clear where the main problem lies, although Jeremy Menez and Keisuke Honda have chipped in with goals from midfield. Things got even worse when the Japanese midfielder left the club to take part at the Asian Cup, and it is, therefore, not surprising that the Rossoneri have bagged just three goals in last four matches, winning just one of those games. The 1-0 home defeat to relegation strugglers Atalanta proved that the lack of confidence is seriously affecting the players at the moment, and this is definitely not the right time to be facing in-form Lazio. With the Rossoneri also missing some important defenders, they clearly face a mountain to climb at Stadio Olimpico, especially having failed to win any of their last five away fixtures in the league.
Adil Rami is banned, Nigel de Jong faces a fitness test and Honda, Zapata, De Sciglio and Bonera are definitely out.
Even if Lazio suffered a home loss to Napoli, the Biancocelesti continued the rich vein of form with another strong performance that should keep them in good stead for the Milan clash. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are completely out of confidence at the moment, have serious problems up front and are without a number of important defenders.
Top pick: Home win 2.05 (21/20) @ William Hill
Alternative pick 1: Under 2.5 goals 1.80 (4/5) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Lazio to win to nil 3.40 (12/5) @ Paddy Power