AC Milan will travel to Rome to take on Lazio, with both clubs seeking renewed objectives to finish the latest matchday.
A lot is going on in Italian football as controversy strikes Serie A. Due to financial irregularities, Juventus have been docked 15 points, which saw them drop places in the table. The FIGC ruling did provide renewed hope for some of the clubs chasing a top-four place, including Lazio, who face AC MIlan next.
Lazio will host AC Milan to finish the latest matchday, but results elsewhere pushed them into sixth going into this game. Maurizio Sarri will hope to finish inside the top four as they currently hold a superior goal difference to Roma.
Sarri will hope his team shows the form needed to beat a Milan side currently struggling to stitch results together. A win will elevate Lazio’s hopes of a top-four finish. But more importantly, getting a result against one of your direct rivals will go a long way to boost their overall confidence.
Milan were also a beneficiary of the Juventus ruling, as they are now back in the second spot. Stefano Pioli will rue the lost points in recent games, and overall, the Rossoneri are in a torrid run of form. Since the restart after the World Cup, Milan have only managed one victory in Serie A.
🗣️ The Coach calls for a big reaction in #LazioMilan
Watch the best bits of the conference 🎥
— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 23, 2023
They have dropped points in their last two Serie A games following draws against AS Roma and Lecce. Moreover, Milan were ousted from the Coppa Italia by Torino and lost the Supercoppa Italiana Final to bitter rivals Inter Milan Saudi Arabia.
A win against Lazio is vital for Pioli if he wishes to keep Milan relevant in the title race. Their hopes of defending the Italian championship steadily slipped as Napoli extended the lead to 12 points at the top. A loss or more dropped points could result in bowing out of the title race. Hence a win is imperative.
Team News & Tactics
Maurizio Sarri has three main concerns with his players and injuries. Mohamed Fares and Mario Gila are surely missing from action. The Lazio manager did have a positive update on attacking talisman Ciro Immobile. He said the striker would be assessed before the game to determine his availability.
🎙️ Sarri: “Affrontiamo i Campioni d’Italia, hanno individualità di livello, sono reduci dalla sconfitta nel derby e quindi avranno ancor più rabbia, dovremo giocare con la consapevolezza che il calendario ci mette davanti a una grande opportunità” #LazioMilan pic.twitter.com/06ur6zmtsm
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) January 23, 2023
Even if Immobile is deemed match fit, Sarri is unlikely to deploy his compatriot in the starting lineup after missing a few games with a thigh problem. The striker is an important part of the team, and bearing in mind the long-term consequences of a setback, he may only make the matchday squad.
In his place, Felipe Anderson will start as a false-nine. The manager also praised the Brazilian but insisted he needs to understand the attacking role well and become a versatile option for the team this season. Sarri also suggested Luis Alberto could come into the lineup after a fitness concern.
Additionally, right-back Manuel Lazzari is also available again after serving a suspension. Sarri also stated the need for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to have more influence in games, although he praised the quality of the Serbian midfielder.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari, Casale, Romagnoli, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Pedro, Anderson, Zaccagni
In recent days, Stefano Pioli has been happy to see the reduced names on the injury list. After a prolonged period of not having many of his key players, the current absentees stand at four names. Mike Maignan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alessandro Florenzi, and Fode Ballo-Toure are missing players.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 22, 2023
Rade Krunic is back in training and could join the travelling squad. Ante Rebic could also form a part of the team, but likely for a place on the bench.
Pioli will name a familiar lineup to get a result and put his trust in some players who have underperformed in recent weeks. Alexis Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, and Rafael Leao will for the attacking setup behind Oliver Giroud.
Ismael Bennacer and Sandro Tonali will be trusted with the midfield duties. Ciprian Tatarusanu will continue in goal in the prolonged absence of Maignan, with a back four of Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez in front of him.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Bennacer, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Giroud
- Lazio have seen over 2.5 goals in six of their last seven matches against AC Milan in all competitions.
- Lazio lost all three of their meetings against Milan last season.
- AC Milan have won five of their last six matches against Lazio in all competitions.
- AC Milan have scored at least two goals in five of their last six matches against Lazio in all competitions.
- AC Milan are undefeated in their last 6 matches in Serie A.
Player To Watch
Since the restart after the World Cup, Milan have thoroughly struggled for relevant results and dropped valuable points in the context of the title race. Rafael Leao has been the only consistent player in the team during that dismal run, scoring two goals and assisting once. It is no wonder that a club like Manchester City are keen on signing the Portuguese international.
Once again, when Milan travel to Lazio, the spotlight will fall on Leao to help his team get a favourable result. In truth, while Leao’s form is decent, he needs to step up big time and inspire his teammates to help Milan back into the title race. Hence, he will be their key man against Maurizio Sarri’s men.
Lazio 0-2 AC Milan
AC Milan have the quality of the top teams in this division, and Lazio are among those. Stefano Pioli’s side is going through a rough patch after consecutive draws, but the manager would want a better outcome this time. They have the firepower to overcome Maurizio Sarri’s men, which might be the case in this game.
Lazio are still an evolving team in Italy under Sarri, and this game might come as a big test for their players. Without star striker Ciro Immobile, their game lacks the edge to trump big sides. They will put on a good show as they usually do under this manager, but Milan could prove a difficult battle to win.