Just a day after their local rivals squared off in a top-of-the-table clash at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, the likes of Lazio and AC Milan will battle for the opportunity to stay close to the top of the standings. And with both sides pretty inconsistent this term, predicting the most likely outcome will be no easy task.
Lazio made tremendous progress last term when they finally achieved a top 3 finish in Serie A, but they were unable to build on that success having been eliminated in the Champions League play-offs. This means that Stefano Pioli’s charges will be even more determined to make things right this term, although this is probably not the right time to launch an assault on Champions League positions due to the excellent form of the likes of Inter, Roma, Napoli and Fiorentina, among others. In all fairness, injuries to first choice attackers Miroslav Klose and Filip Djordjevic created plenty of problems for the Biancocelesti, and it was former AC Milan striker Alessandro Matri who helped out during the difficult times, scoring some important goals in Serie A and Europa League. The Under-20 World Cup winner Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has also impressed since joining in the summer, and while Lazio have been far from impressive on the road, their performances at Stadio Olimpico have been virtually impeccable. The Biancocelesti have won each of their eight home games this season on all fronts, bagging 18 goals in the process and they have every right to hope for the trend to continue against struggling AC Milan. Coach Stefano Pioli is again without Marco Parolo, Stefan de Vrij and Balde Diao Keita, whereas Mauricio faces a fitness test.
Similar to their next opponents, AC Milan have largely struggled in recent years, but many believed that the arrival of talented coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and a number of star players in the summer would prove enough for the famous Italian club to turn things around. However, the Rossoneri have only shown glimpses of quality this term, and while they did win five of first ten league fixtures, it is important to note that they had to work extremely hard for each of those wins and have yet to win by a margin greater than one goal. Meanwhile, they have failed to score a single goal in four Serie A defeats, with 4-0 home loss to Napoli stil fresh in the players’ minds. The latest back to back home wins over Sassuolo and Chievo have helped improve the atmosphere in the squad, but the Rossoneri will have bigger fish to fry on Sunday evening, and it would take a massive effort from Sinisa Mihajlovic’s players if AC Milan are to become the first side to avoid defeat at Stadio Olimpico this term. There are no doubts that 16-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma will be under tremendous pressure despite showing some promise in his first ever senior games, while the absence of Jeremy Menez, Mario Balotelli and Ignazio Abate only adds to the worries.
Lazio may have struggled to live up to the billing in away fixtures, but they have been spotless at their Stadio Olimpico, winning all eigh matches on home soil. Meanwhile, AC Milan continue to struggle for form, with the players clearly lacking confidence, and I just cannot see them getting anything from this match.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 21/20
Bookmaker: William Hill