AC Milan will look to create a winning momentum on Sunday evening when they lock horns with Lazio at San Siro.
AC Milan secured their first-ever win under newly appointed manager Stefano Pioli against SPAL in midweek. The Italian giants will be keen on capitalising on that record as they attempt to recover from a disappointing start to the campaign under the leadership of their new coach.
Milan have underperformed throughout this season and are dawdling in mid-table, with just 13 points on the board. A win, however, could potentially help them overtake eighth-placed Fiorentina. But, things will be tricky against a Lazio side that have enjoyed a much better start to the season.
The club from Rome are currently fifth in the league table and could overtake arch-rivals AS Roma if they manage to secure all three points against Milan this weekend. They are coming on the back of successive wins in Serie A, one of which ended in a 4-0 rout of Torino.
But, form often has minimal effect in these types of crunch encounters. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we now take a look at both the teams ahead of their match-up at San Siro on Sunday.
Tactics & Key Stats
Stefano Pioli made a few changes to the side that won against SPAL in midweek. He is expected to revert those changes due to the hectic schedule. That means Leo Duarte could return to the bench, with Davide Calabria starting at right-back.
One would expect Theo Hernandez to make way for Ricardo Rodriguez on the opposite flank as well. But, the Swiss is doubtful, meaning the ex-Real Madrid star could retain his role in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, the defensive duo of Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio are guaranteed starters.
Ismael Bennacer received a rare start against SPAL. But, the ex-Arsenal sensation will make way for the ever-present figure of Lucas Biglia in the holding midfield role. The veteran Argentine will likely be partnered by Rade Krunic and Franck Kessie, although Giacomo Bonaventura is also an option.
In attack, Krzysztof Piatek will once again lead the line for Milan this weekend. The Pole will look to rekindle his scoring form after an uneventful start to the campaign. He will be supported by the wide attacking duo of Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso, who could replace Samu Castillejo on the right wing.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Calabria, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Krunic, Biglia, Kessie; Suso, Piatek, Calhanoglu
Lazio too had a strenuous test against Torino in midweek. And much like Pioli, their manager Simone Inzaghi could also ring in the changes this weekend.
Felipe Caicedo started against Torino, but will likely make way for star forward Joaquin Correa. The young Argentine will be partnered by talismanic striker Ciro Immobile. The ex-Borussia Dortmund star is currently leading the race for the Capocannoniere, having netted 12 goals.
Elsewhere, Inzaghi may like to switch at least one of his wing-backs. Manuel Lazzari could come into the side at the expense of Adam Marusic. There could also be one change in midfield, with the experienced Lucas Leiva coming in for Danilo Cataldi. The former Liverpool midfielder will be Lazio’s answer to AC Milan’s Biglia and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Leiva will be partnered by Luis Alberto and the ever-present figure of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. It could turn out to be an excellent battle in midfield this weekend. Senad Lulic, the captain, meanwhile, will occupy the wing-back role on the left flank.
And finally, in defence, Bastos may replace Stefan Radu, who will form the three-man central defensive partnership alongside Francesco Acerbi and Luiz Felipe.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Strakosha; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Lulic; Correa, Immobile
- Lazio have only been victorious in two of their last 13 Serie A meetings against AC Milan: six wins for the Rossoneri and five draws.
- Lazio’s last Serie A away win against AC Milan was back in 1989. Since then, the Rossoneri have collected 18 wins and 11 draws.
- Lazio are the side against which AC Milan have drawn the most Serie A games (59, level with AS Roma). Only against Juventus (81) have the Biancocelesti lost more league games than against the Rossoneri (65).
- Lazio have won their last two games against Fiorentina and Torino. They could win three consecutive matches for the first time since September 2018 in Serie A.
- AC Milan have kept a clean sheet after having conceded at least two goals in five of the previous six league games.
Player to Watch
The fact that both the sides have top quality strikers in the shape of Immobile and Piatek is what makes this clash even more interesting. It will be a joy to watch these two forwards striving hard for their teams, trying to come out on top.
But, we favour Immobile given his excellent form, not only this season but also in the last couple of years. The Italian international has already scored 12 goals and his performance against AC Milan will pretty much dictate the fate of Lazio this weekend.
Hence the Milan defenders will look to keep a close eye on Immobile as they look to minimise Lazio’s attacking potential.
AC Milan 1-0 Lazio
Despite the quality going forward, we expect this to be a low scoring game and it won’t be surprising to see if the match turns out to become a cat & mouse chase. Lazio have historically been a bogey team for Milan and we fancy the Rossoneri to seal a surprise victory over their opponents this weekend.