Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 7/5
Torino are set to play host to Lazio in the second round of the 2022/23 Serie A campaign on Saturday afternoon at the Olimico di Torino. It should be an interesting meeting of teams that started the season in a good way.
Always in the shadow of their great neighbours and city rivals Juventus, Torino finished in 10th place with 50 points last season, meaning they were comfortably distant from any relegation issues, but also on the other hand, from the battles for the places in the three European competitions. They will surely be aiming to do somewhat better this time around, and they got off to a fine start by beating Monza away by 1-2, courtesy of goals from Aleksei Miranchuk (43′) and Antonio Sanabria (66′). Lazio will surely present a sterner challenge.
The three points and the minimally positive goal-difference has Torino sharing places from fifth to 10th, but that, of course, is completely irrelevant and at this point does not reflect the quality of the teams competing in the Italian top flight.
Torino brought in a couple of interesting players on loan ahead of the term, last round’s goalscorer Miranchuk being one of them. Fellow attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic has also arrived on a temporary basis from West Ham, as has defender Valentino Lazaro from Inter Milan. Winger Nemanja Radonjic has joined from Olympique Marseille for the season. Apart from that, the club signed defensive midfielder Samuele Ricci from Empoli and centre-back Perr Shuurs from Ajax, both on permanent deals.
There were also two high-profile departures, with centre-back Bremer joining Juventus and Italian international striker Andrea Belotti running out of contract.
Miranchuk won’t be able to help Ivan Juric’s team this time after picking up a thigh injury at Monza. The same goes for centre-back David Zima, who is out with a shoulder injury.
Vlasic is likely to step in and replace Miranchuk in the starting XI, playing alongside Radonjic as the pair supporting striker Sanabria. The match will be a most interesting one for goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who will be hoping that his brother, Lazio star Sergej, won’t have a particularly good game.
At the end of last season, Lazio and their city rivals AS Roma both managed to grab places leading into the group stages of the Europa League, just edging out Fiorentina.
It was a lively start of the campaign for Maurizio Sarri’s team as they triumphed 2-1 at home over Bologna. They found themselves a man down less than three minutes in after goalkeeper Luis Maximiano picked up an early red card, and things got worse in the 38th minute when Marko Arnautovic scored from the spot for the visitors. However, the forces were level in number at the break, with Bologna’s Adama Soumaro sent off in the dying seconds of the first half. In the 68th minute, Bologna’s Lorenzo De Silvestri put the ball in his own net, and Ciro Immobile bagged a winner for Lazio in the 79th.
Having joined the club this summer from Granada, Maximiano won’t be too happy with his competitive debut, which obviously lasted less than three minutes. Apart from the Portuguese goalkeeper, Lazio also signed centre-back Alessio Romagnoli from AC Milan on a free transfer, attacking midfielder Mattia Zaccagni along with centre-back Nicolo Casale from Hellas Verona, and midfielder Marcos Antonio from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Meanwhile, forward Joaquin Correa has left to Inter Milan, Thomas Strakosha is now a goalkeeper for Brentford after his contract with Lazio expired, centre-back Luiz Felipe is now at Real Betis, forward Vedat Muriqi has gone to Mallorca, and centre-back Denis Vavro has joined FC Copenhagen.
With Maximiano suspended, Ivan Provedel is in line to start after coming off the bench to stand between the posts against Bologna. Romagnoli will be commanding the back line, with Milinkovic-Savic in the creative midfield role and Immobile tasked with scoring goals. The 32-year-old striker scored seven goals in the last seven Serie A outings against his former club.
Former Barcelona and Chelsea winger Pedro is out with ankle injury.
Lazio have been making notable progress under Sarri, and they are the favourites to continue the winning start to the campaign with a victory in Turin, despite Torino not being an easy opponent at all. It should be very tight, but the visitors should have just enough in their locker to walk away with all three points.
Verdict: Away win
Best odds: 7/5
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