Lazio will travel to Turin to take on crisis club Juventus, with Massimiliano Allegri hoping the cup competition provides a much-needed distraction.
Juventus are not in a good place right now and continue to plunge into chaos with each passing day. With the massive 15-point deduction on one side, the Bianconeri have won just once in their last four games across all competitions.
After consecutive league losses to Napoli and Monza, they languish in the 13th spot on the table. The thrashing at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium was somewhat contained. But losing to the newly-promoted Monza twice in a season showed the confidence all drained out of the team.
For Juventus, the hopes of making it back into European positions look grim. With a Europa League fixture against Nantes coming up, it would be better for Massimiliano Allegri to focus his efforts on the cup competitions, particularly the European adventure.
Lazio come to Turin in contrasting form to win silverware from somewhere this season. Although Maurizio Sarri will remain wary of waking up a wounded giant in Juventus, the manager will also know the opportunity his team has on their hands with the old foe.
After a win over AC Milan last week, Lazio come into this game with their tails up. Sarri’s men are unbeaten in five games across all competitions and have big ambitions in the Coppa Italia this season. Their solitary aim is to win the contest and, in the process, also inflict more pain on Juventus.
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Despite some disappointing results, there were still some positive outcomes, with Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic returning to the first-team squad on Sunday. Massimiliano Allegri will look to involve the Serbian striker more and could afford him a start against Lazio.
Italian Cup in focus 🏆👀
Full steam ahead towards Thursday's Cup quarter-final clash 🆚 Lazio 🚅💨
— JuventusFC 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@juventusfcen) January 31, 2023
As for Pogba, he may still need some time to get started, as it would represent a risk at this stage for Allegri. In addition, there are still significant absentees in the team, with Juventus likely to miss Leonardo Bonucci, Juan Cuadrado and Arkadiusz Milik for the Lazio clash.
Milik remains out until March with a thigh injury. Meanwhile, Weston McKennie has left the club for Leeds United, so someone will replace him in the lineup, which could be Mattia De Sciglio. The full-back returned to the starting lineup at the weekend and could retain his spot.
Allegri does have the chance to allow some of the young, fringe stars a chance in the lineup, but given the importance of this clash, he could begin with his usual starters. Nicolo Fagioli and Moise Kean should remain in the lineup against Lazio.
Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Perin; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; De Sciglio, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria; Kean
Maurizio Sarri will have been happy to see star striker Ciro Immobile back in action against Fiorentina. The manager could afford him a start against Juventus, but he might hold the thought back for a while. Felipe Anderson has been performing well in the Italian’s absence, and that idea shall continue.
👋 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘂𝘁𝗼 𝗟𝘂𝗰𝗮!
“Grandissima emozione, arrivo nella squadra del cuore”
➡️ https://t.co/R9Pf4eqDaP pic.twitter.com/Xp9SovXQ71
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) January 31, 2023
Manuel Lazzari was another player who made his return in that Fiorentina game. And unlike Immobile, the right-back could start against Juventus. Meanwhile, Sarri could bring Matias Vecino and Patric into the starting lineup in the cup competition.
Mattia Zaccagni should also come into the team and join Pedro and Anderson on the front line. Patric will partner with Alessio Romagnoli at the heart of the Lazio defence defence, with Lazzari and Adam Marusic as full-backs in this contest. The latter is likely a makeshift option, as his original position is that of a right-back.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Vecino will provide the attacking impetus from the centre, with Danilo Cataldi in the holding midfield role.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari, Patric, Romagnoli, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Vecino; Pedro, Anderson, Zaccagni
- Juventus have one victory in their last four games across all competitions.
- Juventus have not lost once at home in the Coppa Italia for 18 games.
- Juventus have three wins in their last six games across all competitions.
- Lazio have kept 11 clean sheets in the first half of a Serie A season for the first time in 50 years.
- Lazio are unbeaten in five games across all competitions.
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Twice this season, Vlahovic has fallen victim to injuries. And once again, he comes into the side amid criticism about his overall ability to contribute. The Serbian frontman may not have envisaged the environment he has come into, but the Juventus crowd may become hostile towards underperforming players following a dismal run of results and the FIGC ruling.
Vlahovic has the chance to win their hearts with some accomplished performances, particularly in the Coppa Italia game. The cup competition represents a good value for the season, and Juventus fans will be desperate for their team to win silverware in some form.
Juventus 1-2 Lazio
Lazio come into this game in top form and on an unbeaten run of five games. In the process, they have ousted AC Milan and will eye Juventus as their next big scalp. Maurizio Sarri knows the importance of doing well in the cup competition and will look to take full advantage of Juventus’s problems.
The Bianconeri, on the other hand, are not in the best run of form and may yet stumble in front of the home fans. And their recent result at home against Monza may yet have a deterring effect, which Lazio will take full advantage of. Sarri’s men could take the win and advance in the Coppa Italia.
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