Sunday, August 31, 17:00 Hrs GMT
AC Milan will be looking to start their new season with a victory over Lazio this weekend. The club is still pretty active in the transfer market with players still expected to appear at Milanello till the closure of the transfer window.
Lazio finished at a disappointing 9th position in the league last season and that has led to a major overhaul of the squad, including their manager. While there has been few astute buys, the club is still expected to sign a major player before the window closes.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Milan will be missing the likes of De Sciglio and Mexes due to suspension and Montolivo due to injury. There has not been any major injury concerns around Milanello till now and that is indeed a good sign considering the fact that the Milan roster had more players on the sideline than on the sheet for the past couple of years. Montolivo is expected to return in October and till then, the position in central midfield will be taken by others likes De Jong or Cristante.
After a pretty active transfer window where Milan finally spent something to acquire a player, the buzz around Milan has been growing by the day. With new coach Inzaghi at the helm, this is Milan’s year zero in the truest sense. The latest player to join the dressing room is none other than Torres, a Chelsea reject, who has won the Ballon d’Or for the past five consecutive seasons. While he is being projected as a key player by Uncle Fester, only time will tell whether he will fit in Inzaghi’s plan. But, nonetheless, Torres is indeed a hard-working player and this may be his last chance to prove that he was one the lethal striker who was feared all around Europe. Milan may still bring in a couple of players like Destro from Roma but then everything depends on how quickly Galliani can move with so few days remaining. All in all, Milan is on the road to recovery and their journey starts this weekend at home.
Inzaghi will field a 4-3-3 formation with Lopez under the bar. One of the most notable acquisitions from last month, Lopez is indeed a prized capture and the fact Galliani got him for free only goes a long way to show his convincing powers. In the absence of De Sciglio and Mexes, Abate will start on the right with new loanee Armero playing on the left. The central defensive pair for this match will be Bonera and Alex, although Zapata or Rami can come in later on in the match.
The midfield will be formed by Poli on the right, Muntari on the left with De Jong playing through the center. Both De Jong and Cristante presents two different versions of Montolivo, with the former being the more defensive of the two. Cristante will surely get a look in once Milan gets on the scoresheet for Inzaghi has great faith in him, having played him almost in all of the pre-season matches. The forward line will be formed by Honda on the right, El Shaarawy on the left with Menez playing through the center.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Lopez(GK); Abate, Bonera, Alex, Armero; Poli, De Jong, Muntari; Honda, Menez, El Shaarawy
Lazio will be missing the likes of Marchetti, Onazi, Konko, Gonzalez due to injury and Pereirinha due to suspension. After emerging victorious over cross-town rivals, Roma in the Coppa Italia final a couple of years back, Lazio has fallen down the pecking order. A disappointing finish last season saw the arrival of Stefano Pioli, who replaced Edy Reja at the helm of the club.
The onset of the transfer season saw the arrival of many players in the blue side of Rome, and there has been two such players who can be the difference makers at the end of the season. The first has been the full ownership of Candreva from Udinese. Candreva will be a vital cog in the Lazio attack line as he will look to support the highest goal-scorer in World Cup history, Klose. The other arrival has been that of the Stefan de Vrij, which was indeed a real coup for the club. Lazio’s defensive setup required a major overhaul and this transfer was the first step in that process. However, search is still on for his partner at the heart of defense and that is one area where a player is expected to come in soon. Although Lotito Hoped to acquire Astori from Cagliari, he defender suddenly changed his stance and joined Roma instead, infuriating the fans in the process.
Lazio will deploy a 4-3-3 formation with Berisha in goal. The back-line will be formed by Basta on the right, Radu on the left with Cana and De Vrij forming the central defensive pair. The midfield will be formed by new arrival Parolo on the right, Lulic on the left with Biglia playing at the central midfield position. The forward line sees the likes of Candreva and Keita, who will be supporting Klose.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-3-3): Berisha(GK); Basta, De Vrij, Cana, Radu; Parolo, Biglia, Lulic; Candreva, Klose, Keita
Player to Watch Out For
El Shaarawy (AC Milan)
Out through injury for most part of the previous season, El Shaarawy can finally showcase his tremendous talent to the Milan fans week-in week-out. His rapid rise was peppered with myriad injuries, all of which even conspired to remove him from the Italian National Team. Although those appears a thing of the past now, El Shaarawy needs to be used in the right fashion and there is no better person to do that other than the new head coach, Inzaghi. There has been news of a special bond between the coach and the striker and fans will be hoping for the best in this upcoming match and season. With no notable strikers on the horizon other than Pazzini, this can be El Shaarawy’s season should he remain fit.
Milan 1 – 0 Lazio
Milan will be having the support of their home fans and that will spur them to victory in the upcoming match. Lazio, who had an equally disappointing season like Milan are still going through an internal shuffling and till the transfer window closes a few days from now, both of these clubs will be eager to start the new season with a victory.