Lazio will welcome last season’s runners-up Inter Milan to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon in the final matchweek of Serie A before the international break.
Inter Milan will be aiming to extend their perfect start to the 2020/21 Serie A season when they travel to the capital to face off against Lazio in matchweek four this Sunday.
Lazio started the new campaign with a 2-0 win over Cagliari but were put to the sword by Atalanta earlier this week, with La Dea thrashing them 4-1 in their backyard. Simone Inzaghi’s side will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways before going off on a two-week break due to the international window.
Inter Milan, on the other hand, have made a rampant start to the new season. Antonio Conte’s men have racked up two impressive wins in their two fixtures, first beating Fiorentina 4-3 before thrashing newly-promoted Benevento 5-2 this midweek. The Nerazzurri will want to extend their 100 per cent record on Sunday and sound out their opponents in the title race.
The last time these two teams met at Stadio Olimpico, Lazio came back from behind to beat Inter Milan 2-1, with Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic finding the back of the net after Ashley Young had put the visitors in front. And ahead of their latest encounter this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Lazio will be sweating over the availability of defender Stefan Radu and forward Joaquin Correa for Sunday’s game. Vedat Muriqi remains sidelined after testing positive for coronavirus, while Luis Felipe and Senad Lulic are also set to miss out for the hosts. New signing Andreas Pereira, signed on loan from Manchester United, is unlikely to be involved.
No major changes are expected from Inzaghi despite the hammering his team received at the hands of Atalanta in midweek. Lazio will line up in their usual 3-5-2 formation in front of the goalkeeper, who ought to be Thomas Strakosha. With Radu a doubt, Bastos is likely to step into the three-man backline alongside Francesco Acerbi and Patric.
Manuel Lazzari and Adam Marusic ought to be the two wing-backs on the right and left sides respectively. They will be key in providing the width in the attacking phase. However, they will need to exercise caution given going up against the attack-minded wing-backs of Inter Milan.
Lucas Leiva will sit as the deepest of the three midfielders and look to provide cover to the defence. Lining up on either side of him will be Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto, who will be tasked with providing the creative essence going forward.
There is no looking past last season’s top scorer Ciro Immobile in one of the two slots upfront. Partnering him on Sunday should be 32-year-old Felipe Caicedo, who was on target in the midweek against Atalanta.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Bastos; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Marusic; Caicedo, Immobile
Antonio Conte, meanwhile, is likely to be without just one player for Sunday, with Matias Vecino still not ready to return to action. The manager made many changes for the midweek clash against Benevento and given the performance, he might opt to stick with almost the same lineup that featured on Wednesday.
Captain Samir Handanovic is the undisputed starter in goal for the visitors. With Milan Skriniar seemingly staying put at the club, the Slovak should start in the three-man backline alongside Stefan de Vrij and Andrea Bastoni. Former AS Roma star Aleksandar Kolarov is unlikely to start.
🔥 Achraf Hakimi has played a direct hand in three goals in his first 71 league minutes as an @Inter player
⏱️ 26' 🆚 Fiorentina – 🅰️
⏱️ 45' 🆚 Benevento – ⚽️🅰️
🤝 Both assists have been for Romelu Lukaku. Chemistry 💯 pic.twitter.com/YH5js9o2YC
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 30, 2020
Achraf Hakimi enjoyed a dream debut for Inter Milan earlier in the week and should nail down the right wing-back slot for himself. On the opposite flank, Conte might look to continue with Ashley Young, even though Ivan Perisic is a serious contender to feature. There is also the possibility that Kolarov could be moved to the left wing-back slot.
Marcelo Brozovic, who did not start in the previous game, should get the nod in the middle of the park. He will have Arturo Vidal as his partner, meaning Nicolo Barella is likely to start on the bench once again. Stefano Sensi should get the nod over Christian Eriksen as the trequartista.
Romelu Lukaku is an undisputed starter for Inter in the two-pronged strikeforce. Partnering him up top should be Lautaro Martinez, with Alexis Sanchez dropping to the bench.
Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Hakimi, Vidal, Brozovic, Young; Sensi; Lukaku, Martinez
- Lazio and Inter Milan have met 154 times in Serie A. The Nerazzurri have won 64 times, whereas Le Aquile have come out on top on 37 occasions (D53).
- However, Lazio have a slight edge while playing at home, having beaten Inter in 27 matches and lost in 22 (D28).
- Simone Inzaghi’s side has won two of their last three matches against Inter in the league, after not having achieved even one victory in the previous five (D1 L4).
- Since the 2014/15 season, Inter Milan have won four Serie A away games against Lazio, losing just two. Only against Udinese have they picked up more away wins (five) during the same period.
- Inter Milan’s new signing Arturo Vidal has been directly involved in six goals against Lazio (four goals and two assists) in Serie A.
Player to Watch
🌠 #UEL Player of the Season 2019/20 🌠
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) October 2, 2020
The Belgian international has begun the new campaign on a strong note, banging in three goals in Inter’s first two matches of the campaign. Fresh after being crowned the 2019/20 UEFA Europa League Player of the Season, Romelu Lukaku will be gunning to celebrate with another goal-scoring display on Sunday to lead his team to a victory.
However, the fact that Lazio is the team against whom he has gone without scoring for the most minutes (173) in Serie A will be playing on the former Manchester United star’s mind. Inter Milan will need Lukaku to address that if they are to ease to a victory this weekend.
Lazio 1-3 Inter Milan
Lazio head into the game on the back of a disappointing defeat earlier in the week. The hosts looked very vulnerable at the back and considering the form that Conte’s Inter Milan are in currently, that could spell trouble. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a 3-1 win for the Nerazzurri with Lukaku getting off the mark against Lazio.