Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Prediction: Lazio vs Milan

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 41/18

Bookmaker: BetUS

The weekend of football in Italy kicks off with a clash between two of last season’s top four Serie A teams as AC Milan visit the capital to take on Lazio on Friday.

Lazio, with a crucial Champions League match against Bayern Munich looming next week, require a positive result in this fixture to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for UEFA’s premier competition again next season. As for Milan, they now need the points to maintain their grip on the top four, having practically lost all realistic chances of fighting for the Scudetto.

Lazio

Lazio’s inconsistent form continued as they suffered a defeat to Fiorentina in Tuscany last weekend.

Since their Supercoppa disappointment, the Biancocelesti have won three and lost three of their seven matches, with defeats against Fiorentina, Atalanta BC, and Bologna proving costly in their pursuit of a top-four finish.

These losses not only dented their own hopes but also handed crucial points to their direct rivals in the race for the top four. As a result, Lazio find themselves eight points adrift of the top four, with Napoli’s recent big win over Sassuolo pushing them level on points with Lazio, who currently sit in eighth place.

While a repeat of last season’s 4-0 victory over Milan would be a welcome boost, Lazio’s significant points deficit going into this fixture makes such an outcome unlikely. Manager Maurizio Sarri will be eager to see his team find form ahead of their crucial Champions League clash against Bayern Munich next Tuesday.

Team News

Lazio are facing two significant injury concerns ahead of the upcoming match, with Patric expected to miss out due to a sprained ankle and Nicolo Rovella likely sidelined with a groin issue.

Despite the impending clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday, manager Sarri may be hesitant to make significant personnel changes to allow for rest, considering the caliber of their opponents. Therefore, a predominantly strong lineup is anticipated.

The return of Mattia Zaccagni from injury comes at an opportune moment, as he saw 45 minutes of action last week. However, given the importance of the match against Bayern, Sarri may opt to have him start on the bench, with a potential start against Bayern being considered instead.

AC Milan

Meanwhile, Milan, after a strong start to 2024, have faced some challenges recently and struggled against Atalanta last weekend.

Having suffered defeats to Atalanta twice this season, Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan side was held to a 1-1 draw at San Siro, with Rafael Leao’s stunning goal being matched by Teun Koopmeiners’ penalty for La Dea. This draw extended Milan’s winless streak to three games, following a 4-2 loss to Monza in their previous league encounter.

While a loss to Rennes in France had little impact due to their commanding 3-0 lead from the first leg, Milan must break this winless streak to secure their place in the top four.

With only one point from their last two matches, any hopes of a title challenge have been effectively dashed, especially as Juventus maintains a four-point lead despite their inconsistent form.

Although Milan still hold a comfortable gap over teams below them in the standings, the impressive form of teams like Bologna and Atalanta poses a threat, making it imperative for Milan to avoid another defeat.

Team News

Like Lazio, Milan are currently dealing with just two injury concerns. Tommaso Pobega is sidelined with a hamstring problem, while Mattia Caldara remains out long-term.

Additionally, Luka Jovic is still serving a suspension following his straight red card against Monza two weeks ago. However, he is expected to start in Milan’s Europa League clash with Slavia Prague next midweek.

On a positive note, Pierre Kalulu and Davide Calabria returned to the squad for the draw with Atalanta. Furthermore, Fikayo Tomori is on track to make a comeback sooner rather than later and could potentially return to action this weekend.

Conclusion

Sarri may feel tempted to prioritize the upcoming clash with Bayern Munich next week, but any slip in focus could result in punishment from a strong Milan side. Therefore, Lazio are expected to field a strong lineup for this match.

While Milan’s three-match winless streak is unlikely to continue for much longer, this fixture presents another challenging mission for Pioli’s men. As both teams possess plenty of quality in their ranks, it’s likely that the points will be shared in what promises to be a closely contested encounter.

Verdict: Draw

Best odds: 41/18

Bookmaker: BetUS

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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