Saturday, March 6, 2021

Prediction: Inter Milan vs Lazio

Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 17/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Inter Milan will welcome Lazio to the San Siro stadium on Sunday in what will be a match of the 22nd round of the 2020-21 Serie A campaign. Both teams will want the three points badly in their bid to finish as high as possible at the end of the season, and it should be said that both teams are in with a chance, perhaps one more than the other, to win the title.

Inter Milan

Having finished 2019-20 in second place, Antonio Conte’s team find themselves in the same spot at the moment, this time two points behind city rivals AC Milan who lead the way with 49. Defending champions Juventus are now below with 42 and a game in hand, which means Inter have to be looking over their shoulders as well as ahead.

The Nerazurri owe their advantage over the Old Lady, among other things, to winning the clash between them 2-0 recently, one of the three matches they settled in their favour from the last six in the league. The other two were 4-0 at home against Benevento and 0-2 away to Fiorentina. They also drew 2-2 away to AS Roma and 0-0 away to Udinese. The only defeat came away to Sampdoria, by 2-1.

Juventus got their revenge in the cup, however, kicking Inter out of the competition in the semi-finals over two legs. The Bianconeri won the first in Milan by 1-2, and then held out to a goalless draw in Turin on Tuesday.

Inter suffered a disappointing Champions League campaign this term, finishing bottom of Group B, behind Real Madrid, Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Team News

The only question Conte still doesn’t know the answer to when it comes to the availability of his players is Arturo Vidal. The Chilean midfielder has been carrying a minor injury and is a doubt, but the rest of the squad are ready for selection.

Conte will likely stick to his preferred 3-5-2 shape, with Lautaro and Lukaku upfront, Achraf Hakimi and Ivan Perisic out wide, the trio of Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella and Roberto Gagliardini in the middle, and the back three of Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni ahead of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Lazio

Lazio managed to grab top-four placement at the end of last term and qualify for the Champions League, and they’ve been more successful in UEFA’s elite club competition than Inter, though in the arguably easier Group F. They finished second to Borussia Dortmund, ahead of Club Brugge and Zenit St. Petersburg, but they now face an extremely difficult task – trophy holders and recently crowned world champions Bayern Munich in the round of 16.

Nonetheless, the season hasn’t gone bad for Simone Inzaghi and his men so far. Right now they are in fifth place with 40 points, the same as city rivals AS Roma in fourth, two less than Juventus in third, and seven less than Inter in second. They are in a good position already, but a win here could potentially make it a lot better, especially if Juventus fail to win in Naples on Saturday.

Looking at Lazio’s recent form, they won all of their last six matches in the league; 2-1 at home against Fiorentina, 0-2 away to Parma, 3-0 at home in the Rome derby, 2-1 at home against Sassuolo, 1-3 away to Atalanta, and 1-0 at home against Cagliari last week. A fabulous run, though it should be said that the win over Atalanta came just after the Bergamo side knocked them out of the cup in quarterfinals.

Team News

Inzaghi will be without the services of goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha and defender Luiz Felipe, who are both injured, while midfielder Danilo Cataldi is a doubt following some muscular problems. He made the bench in the cup defeat to Atalanta, though.

Like Conte, Inzaghi also usually arranges his team in a 3-5-2 system. Immobile will likely be joined by Joaquin Correa in attack. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lukas Leiva and Luis Alberto should be in the middle section, flanked by Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic. At the back, Mateo Musacchio, Francesco Acerbi and Stefan Radu are likely to represent the final hurdle before veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

Conclusion

Both teams will enter this contest with high ambitions and attacking intent. There should be plenty of chances at either end, and with players like Lautaro Martinez, Romelu Lukaku and Ciro Immobile on the pitch, there should be goals as well.

Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 17/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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