AC Milan will brace themselves for yet another stern test this weekend as they travel to Stadio Olimpico to face Lazio.

Following a 2-0 defeat to Juventus in their last game, AC Milan will be keen to return to winning ways on Sunday as they face Lazio. The Italian giants have failed to win any of their last two matches in all competitions but a win this weekend could lift them ahead of Lazio at fourth place.

Milan have a balanced record away from home this campaign, having won twice in six matches while securing the same numbers of draws and defeats. Having said that, odds certainly don’t favour the Rossoneri in this one, as they have lost many key players through injury since their defeat to Juventus earlier this month.

Lazio, on the other hand, haven’t been able to perform consistently either despite sitting pretty at fourth place. They are on a splendid run, however, having won five of their last six matches in all competition. Their 1-1 draw with Sassuolo in the last game was the only time they had failed to secure a win during that period.

The Biancocelesti do boast a strong record at home, however, having won four of their six matches so far and therefore, they will be confident of their chances against Milan this weekend. In addition, they have fared defensively, conceding just 14 goals in 12 matches and coach Simone Inzaghi will be hoping to keep that record intact against a Milan side that has already scored 21 goals this campaign.

And here at the Hard Tackle, we run the rule over the two sides ahead of their intriguing match-up this Sunday.

Team news & tactics

Lazio

Unlike Milan, Lazio haven’t been dealt with any fresh injuries going into this fixture, meaning they are likely to stick with the core of their team in this one. Inzaghi will once again resort to his trusted 3-5-2 formation with Thomas Strakosha starting in goal.

Ciro Immobile will play a key role this weekend. (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)

Can Immobile extend his scoring tally this weekend? (Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)

The three-man defensive line will consist of Luiz Felipe, Francesco Acerbi and Stefan Radu, all of whom have fared really well this campaign. Adam Marusic and Senad Lulic will be deployed as wingbacks as they look to take full advantage of Milan’s lack of quality in wider positions.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Milan Badelj and Marco Parolo will be starting at the base of Lazio’s 3-5-2. Milinkovic-Kovic’s excellent work-ethic and aggression in midfield could be useful against a Milan side, that lack composure in midfield with both Biglia and Bonaventura out injured.

And finally, the Lazio attack will be led by Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile, who has scored half of Lazio’s league goals so far this term. His lethal finish defence could cause problems for the hugely vulnerable Milan defence this weekend.

Probable lineup(3-5-2): Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Badelj, Parolo, Lulic; Immobile, Caicedo.

AC Milan

As stated earlier, Milan are facing an injury crisis at the moment with a host of their key players out injured. The list includes the likes of Ivan Strinic, Mattia Caldara, Lucas Biglia, Mateo Musacchio, Giacomo Bonaventura and Alessio Romagnoli.

In addition, star striker Gonzalo Higuain is suspended after picking up a red card against his former side Juventus last time out. Thus, coach Gennaro Gattuso will be forced to make a plethora of alternations to his starting eleven this weekend.

Higuain's absence will be a huge blow for Milan. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Higuain’s absence will be a huge blow for Milan. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

However, we can expect Calabria to remain fit for the encounter. He will be deployed as the left-back while Ignazio Abate features on the opposite flank. Ricardo Rodriguez will shift into a centre-back in the wake of Romagnoli’s absence while Cristian Zapata will deputize for Musacchio.

Gattuso is likely to revert to a 4-4-1-1 formation following the absence of Biglia and Bonaventura. As a result, Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko will start at the base of the formation while Suso and Samu Castillejo will occupy the wide midfield roles. Suso’s creativity could be crucial as Milan aim to breach a well-disciplined Lazio defence.

Hakan Calhanoglu will start as the lone playmaker, just in behind the main striker Patrick Cutrone. However, expect the Turkish international to operate as more of a secondary striker as he and Cutrone look to fill the void left by Higuain upfront.

Probable lineup(4-4-1-1): Donnarumma; Abate, Zapata, Rodriguez, Calabria; Suso, Kessie, Bakayoko, Castillejo; Calhanoglu; Cutrone.

Key stats

  • Only Rodrigo de Paul(36) has provided more key passes than Milan’s Suso(34) this season. He has also attempted more shots(46) than Lazio striker Ciro Immobile(44).
  • Only three teams have attempted more shots than AC Milan this season, who have also attempted the second most number of shots from outside the box.
  • Lazio are one of the most composed sides in the league, having lost possession only 90 times in 12 matches – a tally only bettered Roma(89).
  • Milan have completed the second least number of interceptions so far while Lazio are sixth in the league.

Player to watch

Patrick Cutrone

One to watch out for. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

One to watch out for. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Following the absence of star striker Gonzalo Higuain, all eyes will be on Patrick Cutrone as he looks to replace the Argentinian superstar, who has plundered five goals this season. Cutrone will be tasked with the responsibility of providing the attacking thrust alongside Calhanoglu, which will surely be difficult against the Lazio defence.

However, Cutrone is extremely intelligent when it comes to positioning in the final third, something that could really prove to be crucial against such a well-drilled side. In addition, his clever runs in behind the defence are sure to cause a problem or two for Inzaghi’s men, making him the player worth looking forward to this weekend.

Prediction

Lazio 2-1 AC Milan

Both Milan and Lazio have acquired identical statistics and results this season, meaning it promises to be a tightly fought encounter as both of these teams look to collect all three points this weekend. But, Milan’s soaring injury problems will substantially weaken their overall rhythm against a Lazio side that has proven to be quite sturdy under Inzaghi this season.

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