In round 2 of Serie A 2016-17, we have two big clashes coming our way and in one of them, Lazio host Juventus at Stadio Olimpico. The Bianconeri have already had a tricky opening game away at the Stadio Artemio Franchi against Fiorentina, a game that they won 2-1 and will now be tested by Simone Inzaghi’s men in the Italian capital.
Juventus has had an excellent summer spending spree where they responded rather well to the departures of two of their biggest stars – Morata and Pogba. To add to the excellent signings of Pjanic, Higuain and Dani Alves, PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi is also set to join them according to reports. Lazio will have to do exceedingly well to keep the likes of Paulo Dybala and Higuain at bay.
Team news and tactics
Lazio had been humiliated in the summer by Marcelo Bielsa who was appointed as the head coach only to resign after a few days for reasons that are yet to be known to the public. There had been myriad speculations and controversy regarding the club’s future amidst which Simone Inzaghi, the lesser known Inzaghi, was appointed as coach.
And it has not been an easy few months for him as he has had difficulty taming Lazio prospect Keita Balde. The Spaniard is one of Lazio’s brightest prospects on the field and reportedly wants a transfer to a more high profile club.
Simone Inzaghi has coached the youth team of Lazio for 5 years before he finally made the break as the interim coach after the Stefano Pioli and Edy Reja debacle last year at Lazio. In the limited time given to him as a caretaker he had been decent as some circles of Serie A pundits think that this will be the year he finally steps out of his brother’s shadow.
Inzaghi has had a decent start to the season beating Atalanta 4-3, after initially surrendering a 3 goal lead. New signing Ciro Immobile will start in attack alongside the former Ajax star Ricardo Kishna and Italian teenager Christian Lombardi who many Italian fans rate as a prospective young talent.
These agile young wingers would hope to test the more experienced legs of Dani Alves and Patrice Evra in defense. Stefan Radu will miss the game with a muscular injury while Felipe Anderson who has just returned from the Olympics will probably start on the bench.
Probable Lineup – 4-3-3 – Marchetti(GK); Basta, Hoedt, De Vrij, Lukaku; Biglia, Parolo, Milinkovic-Savic; Kishna, Immobile, Lombardi.
Juventus are still missing their key midfielder Claudio Marchisio who is on the path to recovery, but will still miss out on all the action till November. Stefano Sturaro is also out with a knee problem. Asamoah who had an impressive game against Fiorentina providing several key passes in the midfield, will start with the ever-reliable Sami Khedira and new signing Miralem Pjanic. The midfield battle will be an intriguing one as Lazio is well balanced in the midfield with youth and experience.
Juventus will look to be quick on the ball as they are missing a holding midfielder, like Lucas Biglia who anchors the midfield and provides cover to De Vrij and Hoedt, Lazio’s Dutch defensive duo.
Juve’s midfield consists of three players all of whom are very dynamic. Needless to say Parolo and Biglia will have their plates full with defensive work while they’ll look to provide Milinkovic-Savic with space to create play.
Probable Lineup – 3-5-2 – Buffon(GK); Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini; Dani Alves, Khedira, Pjanic, Asamoah, Evra; Higuain, Dybala
Players to watch out for
Paulo Dybala (Juventus)
Dybala is yet to open his account for Juventus. He was the top scorer for the Old Lady last season and the Lazio backline will have a torrid time handling the former Palermo striker. Compatriot Lucas Biglia will have to help out the defense against the dual Argentinian threat supported by Khedira with his runs from the deep.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio)
It will not be an easy task for Milinkovic-Savic to marshal the midfield against the likes of Pjanic and Khedira who will defend deep when the ball is their half. However the lack of a defensive midfield enforcer will allow the Serbian with some space which he would do well to capitalise on.
- Lazio vs Juventus will finally see Higuain start alongside compatriot Dybala in the Juve attack.
- Juventus have played Lazio 53 times and has won 28 times.
- Juventus have won 27 of their last 29 matches in Serie A.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 5 of Lazio‘s last 6 games in Serie A.
Lazio 0-2 Juventus
Lazio will have to utilise the wings and the dead ball situations properly if they stand any chance of scoring. Immobile’s height disadvantage against Chiellini, Bonucci and Barzagli will most likely prove the task of getting on the end of balls a daunting one. However Marco Parolo is also a threat from the dead ball situations.