Crotone host Lazio in an all-important tie, with the home side in need of at least a draw to have any chance of survival in the Serie A.
The Serie A title has long been decided and two of three relegation spots are also fixed, with Pescara and Palermo condemned to football in the Serie B next campaign. However, the third spot is pretty much open, with Crotone and Empoli fighting for survial.
Crotone are currently in 18th and tipped to join Pescara and Palermo in Serie B next season. However, the newcomers can still retain their Serie A status if they do not lose against Lazio and the other result goes in their favour, with Empoli failing to gain any points against Palermo.
Lazio, though, too have something to play for as well, with the fourth place up for grabs. However, they will have to win on Sunday, especially after Atalanta earned a narrow win on Saturday to leapfrog Lazio on the table.
It will be interesting to see how the match pans out as we take a close look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
It is one of the most important ties in Davide Nicola’s managerial career at Crotone and the boss is likely to retain the 4-4-2 formation that has been deployed recently. The manager is unlikely to make any change at all except one potential forced change.
Alesandro Rosi came off early last week and is a doubt for the game. Should the player be unavailable, Mario Sampirisi is likely to slot in at right-back to replace the cultured defender.
The onus in attack will be on Diego Falcinelli – the club’s highest goalscorer in the present Serie A campaign with 12 goals and the 25-year-old will be expected to work his magic again upfront as Crotone seek to retain their Serie A status.
Probable Lineup ( 4-4-2 ): Cordaz; Sampirisi, Ferrari, Ceccherini, Martella; Rohden, Crisetig, Barberis, Nalini; Falcinelli, Trotta
Simone Inzaghi has a lot of personnel issues to sort out before Sunday. As many as three players are set to miss the game, with Wesley Hoedt, Senad Lulic and Keita all suspended for the tie. Marco Parolo is a doubt for the game and could join Federico Marchetti and Jordan Lukaku on the absentee list.
Probable Lineup ( 4-3-3 ): Strakosha; Basta, Wallace, De Vrij, Radu; Parolo, Biglia, Milinkovic-Savic; Alberto, Immobile, Anderson
1. The 2016-17 campaign was Crotone’s maiden Serie A campaign in the club’s history.
2. Crotone has won more points in their last 8 games than in the rest of the campaign combined.
3. Ciro Immobile has matched his career-best tally of 22 goals in a season and can surpass it with a goal on Sunday.
4. More than 50% of Lazio’s Serie A goals have been scored by either Immobile or Keita (38 out of 73).
5. Lazio have not lost 3 league games in a row in the present season and have lost two league games on the trot on only one previous occasion, which was followed by a victory away at Pescara – a team that has been condemned to relegation.
Crotone 1 – 4 Lazio
Lazio have too much quality to be troubled by Crotone, who are likely to put in a valiant effort on Sunday but are likely to come up short. Simone Inzaghi will be hoping for his boys to end the season on a high and grab the fourth spot on the league standings from Atalanta – the season’s surprise package.
Ciro Immobile is likely to get on the scoresheet while Crotone’s goal is likely to come at the behest of Falcinelli. However, the attacking power that Lazio possesses is likely to trump Crotone, who are all set to drop back to Serie B for the 2017-18 season.