Thursday, April 25, 2024

Prediction: Lazio vs Juventus

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

In the first match of what could be a pivotal double-header against Juventus, mid-table Lazio look to kick-start a new era under new management. This encounter will take place at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

For Lazio, losses to Juventus in both league and cup matches over the next few days would severely diminish their season’s prospects. Meanwhile, Juventus themselves are experiencing one of their poorest stretches since their return to Serie A in 2007.

Lazio

Following Maurizio Sarri’s resignation amid a four-game losing streak, including an aggregate loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League’s last 16, Lazio found themselves in disarray. Sarri cited a lack of support from his players before stepping down, and his assistant Giovanni Martusciello took charge for a 3-2 victory over Frosinone just before the international break.

Although the win against Frosinone ended their losing streak, Lazio’s form at home has been concerning, having lost their last three Serie A matches at the Stadio Olimpico. They have only managed to secure half of the available points at home this season.

Martusciello has now been replaced by Croatian coach Igor Tudor, tasked with revitalizing the team’s fortunes. Tudor’s previous stint in Serie A with Hellas Verona saw his side score goals prolifically, ranking among the top scorers alongside Inter, Lazio, and Napoli.

Tudor takes charge of Lazio, currently languishing in ninth place in the table, eight points behind arch-rivals Roma in fifth.

His debut as the Lazio coach comes against Juventus, a club he represented for nearly a decade during his playing career and briefly served on their coaching staff under Andrea Pirlo. Three days later, Lazio face Juventus again in a Coppa Italia clash in Turin.

Team News

With Lazio’s current situation demanding immediate action, Tudor is poised to abandon Sarri’s established 4-3-3 system in favor of his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation for Saturday’s match.

In this setup, Mario Gila could feature in a flat back three, leaving only one spot for a center-forward. Despite enduring a challenging season and facing competition from Mateo Retegui for Italy’s first-choice striker position, Ciro Immobile remains the club’s leading scorer with six Serie A goals. Taty Castellanos, who scored a brace in the last match, has netted four.

Goalkeeper Ivan Provedel is still recovering from an ankle injury, so Christos Mandas will continue to deputize. Midfielder Nicolo Rovella may miss the match due to a groin problem, while Luca Pellegrini, who is on loan from Juventus, is suspended.

Juventus

Before focusing on gaining an advantage in the cup semifinals, Juventus will aim to secure a league double over Lazio for the first time in five years, following their 3-1 victory in September’s reverse fixture.

However, recent months have been challenging for Max Allegri’s team, with their Serie A title hopes fading and a sudden drought in goals. Since the end of January, Juve have only managed to secure seven points from eight matches, a performance comparable to Serie A’s bottom three teams: Salernitana, Frosinone, and Sassuolo.

This poor run of form, the worst in 13 years for the club, has prompted calls for Allegri to depart in the summer. Nevertheless, Allegri may still believe that winning the Coppa Italia and overtaking AC Milan for second place in the league are achievable goals before the end of May. The Scudetto is almost certain to go to Inter.

Despite recent draws against Atalanta BC and Genoa, which saw Juventus slip from second place in the standings, they did manage to keep a clean sheet against the latter, their first in several weeks.

With crucial matches against Lazio approaching, followed by a home game against Fiorentina and the Turin derby next month, Juventus fans will hope that the international break has provided Allegri’s team with an opportunity to reset and improve their performance.

Team News

The Bianconeri will face several key absences, including Arkadiusz Milik (adductor) and Carlos Alcaraz (hamstring) due to injury. However, the most notable absentee is Dusan Vlahovic, who has been in stellar form, scoring 15 league goals this season, placing him second in the Capocannoniere rankings.

Vlahovic received a red card during second-half stoppage time against Genoa and is now suspended. With Milik also unavailable, the responsibility may fall on out-of-form forward Moise Kean to partner either Federico Chiesa or Kenan Yildiz at the Olimpico.

Kean, who is yet to score in 14 Serie A appearances this season, has endured a challenging spell, failing to find the net in his last 18 league games. This goal drought marks the longest period without scoring for any Juventus striker in over two decades.

Conclusion

The transition from Sarri’s tactics to Tudor’s style may take some time for Lazio, potentially resulting in another defeat this weekend. As they prepare for their upcoming match on Tuesday, it’s anticipated that both teams will engage in a cautious affair, with Juventus likely reverting to their usual strategy and securing a hard-fought, minimal victory.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 6/4

Bookmaker: Olympusbet

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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