Inter Milan can rekindle their dreams of a top-four finish should they beat Lazio at home on Sunday.
Italian giants Inter Milan will welcome Lazio to the Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday in a clash that should have a significant impact on either side’s chances of a top four finish. A poor run of form in recent weeks has seen Inter fall away and drop out of the top four entirely. The Nerazzurri are currently sixth, two points off arch-rivals AC Milan, who are in the fourth spot.
Lazio, for their part, are the only side who can mathematically still catch runaway leaders Napoli. Should the Gli Azzurri win and Lazio fail to pick up the three points, the Scudetto will be on its way to Naples.
Maurizio Sarri’s side are in second spot and look set to return to the Champions League. However, Juventus are just two points behind them with seven games to go. The margin for error is less, and Lazio cannot afford to drop points, especially against direct rivals.
Inter have got the better of Lazio in their last three Serie A games at home. The visitors will be keen to buck that trend and retain second spot in the league. It promises to be an exciting game between two sides who have much to play for in the league. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.
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🔜 #InterLazio 🔥#ForzaInter pic.twitter.com/uYKFny0dmI
— Inter (@Inter) April 28, 2023
Simone Inzaghi’s side are currently in the UEFA Champions League semi-final. And earlier this week, booked their spot in the Coppa Italia final following a 2-1 aggregate win over Juventus. Their success in knockout competitions is in direct contrast to their falloff in the league.
The Nerazzurri cannot afford to drop any more points if they are serious about a top-four finish. Winning the Champions League is far from certain, and their participation in next season’s competition more or less hinges on their league finish.
Having left his post at Lazio to take over at Inter, Inzaghi will find little love from his former side. Lazio defeated Inter 3-1 in the reverse fixture and will be keen to do the double over their rivals. Despite Lazio’s familiarity with it, Inzaghi is unlikely to deviate from his 3-5-2 formation. With top-four to play for, he cannot afford to rest too many stars either.
Milan Skriniar is still ruled out while Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhangolu should feature despite picking up minor knocks midweek. Inzaghi has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from. Andre Onana is likely to start in goal behind the back three of Matteo Darmian, Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni. Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco will provide the width.
The latter will be in high spirits following his goal that saw off Juventus midweek. Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu will start on either side of Marcelo Brozovic in the center of the midfield. Former Lazio star Joaquin Correa is likely to be restored into the starting XI alongside Romelu Lukaku.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Dimarco; Correa, Lukaku
Maurizio Sarri has brought back the fun at Lazio and has implemented Sarri-ball to maximum effect. His side also boasts the best defense in the league and are chasing a sixth consecutive clean sheet away from home.
More so, they will also be keen to get one over their former manager at his new home. Lazio will be well aware of Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 system having implemented it themselves during his reign at the club. This should give them an advantage when it comes to anticipating their opponents’ tactics.
Danilo Cataldi will return from his suspension and will be expected to go straight into the starting XI. More so, Ciro Immobile shook off last week’s accident to come off against Torino. He will be in contention to feature on the night. This will further amplify what is an increasingly dangerous Lazio frontline.
🔜 Verso #InterLazio…
💥 La gara d’andata!#AvantiLazio 🦅 pic.twitter.com/7HjmYyzqo5
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) April 28, 2023
Sarri is likely to deploy his side in the free-flowing 4-3-3 system. Ivan Provedel should start in goal behind the back four of Adam Marusic, Nicolo Casale, Alessio Romagnoli and Elseid Hysaj.
Danilo Cataldi’s return will give Lazio a strong base in midfield, allowing Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto to pull strings further upfield. Ciro Immobile is expected to lead the attack with Felipe Anderson and Mattia Zaccagni in support.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Provedel; Marusic, Casale, Romagnoli, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni
- Inter Milan and Lazio have managed just one draw in their last nine meetings. Both teams have won four games apiece with the same result not repeating in consecutive games.
- Both teams have found the back of the net in their last six games against each other. This is the longest such run between the teams, equaling the record set by them between 1973-1975. Inter Milan have won the last three home games against Lazio in Serie A.
- Lazio have not conceded a goal in their last five away games in Serie A. They are just the fourth Italian top flight side to match this feat in the three points for a win era.
- Inter Milan are on a three game losing streak at home in Serie A. This is their longest such run.
- Lazio average a goal every 63 touches of the ball in Serie A this season, the most of any side in the league. Inter are at the other end of the spectrum with a goal every 40 touches.
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The Serbian international is a dominant presence on the right side of the midfield. His presence on the flank should limit the impact Federico Dimarco has going forward while also adding to the visitors’ ability in attack.
Working in tandem with Felipe Anderson, Lazio could overwhelm the Inter left and overwhelm Bastoni. The home side has looked vulnerable in recent times and Lazio has the resources to inflict heavy damage. Milinkovic-Savic has scored five times against Inter in the past and has a good record against the Nerazzurri.
Milinkovic-Savic is also an excellent goal scorer and can hit the football sweetly. He has so far made 99 goal contributions for Lazio and there is every chance he can hit the century mark at the Giuseppe Meazza.
Inter Milan 1-3 Lazio
Inter Milan will have their tails up following the win over Juventus. But Lazio are a far more dangerous side. Maurizio Sarri is unlikely to go into the game unprepared and will be keen to put the shock defeat against Torino behind them.
It should prove to be another humbling for Inter, extending their winless run at home to four matches. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Sarri & co. on Sunday. So the Serie A title race should go into the 33rd game week, at least mathematically.
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