Stadio Olimpico Stalemate On The Cards
Lazio v AC Milan
Lazio welcome a struggling Milan side to the Olympic Stadium on Saturday as the hosts attempts to get back into the title race while while the visitor’s problems go from bad to worse.
A hugely disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Napoli last weekend brought an end to a run of eight games without a loss – including five wins – for Lazio and saw both the Naples side and Sampdoria leapfrog the Romans in what’s turning into a hotly contested fight for the final spot Champions League spot this season.
It was also the first time in eight games that Stefano Pioli’s side have failed to get on the scoresheet after scoring 17 times in their previous seven and they now lie fifth in the Serie A table, two points adrift of both Napoli and Sampdoria and just one ahead of Fiorentina. Only the top two and Samp have picked up more points on their own ground this season though.
Stefano Mauri and Filip Djordjevic have both scored seven Serie A goals each this season to lead the goalscoring charts for Pioli’s side..
Following their latest setback – a 1-0 loss to Atalanta at the San Siro last weekend – Milan have now failed to win any of their last four Serie A matches, with their only win in the last five coming against Sassulo in the Italian Cup. Perhaps the biggest surprise in what has been another awful season for the famous club is that they remain eighth in the table just seven points behind the Napoli in the final Champions League place despite winning only two of their 12 league games since mid-October and only one in since late November.
French attacker Jeremy Menez has been the brightest spark in dark times for the club, with nine Serie A goals to his name although he’s scored just once in the last four.
Lazio have extensive injury problems to deal with Senad Lulic, Felipe Anderson, Michael Ciani and Edson Braafheid all out through injury while Alvaro Gonzalez, Ederson and Stefan de Vrij all major doubts although Mauri could make a welcome return to the starting XI.
Nigel de Jong and Daniele Bonera have both been added to Milan’s injury list after picking up problems in the defeat to Atalanta with Mattia De Sciglio and Cristian Zapata already out through injury while Keisuke Honda is away on international duty with Japan. Boss Filippo Inzaghi also has doubts over Giampaolo Pazzini, Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and Marco van Ginkel.
It had all looked so different for Milan this season when they earned a fine 3-1 win over Lazio when the clubs met late last August as Menez, Keisuke Honda and Sulley Muntari all scored in a routine win at the San Siro.
Both clashes between the teams ended 1-1 last season; each side has won two of the past six meetings and there’s been six draws in the past eleven.
There’s been only three occasions in the past 12 clashes when both sides have failed to score.
Injuries unquestionably took their toll on Lazio last weekend as their side just couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of absentees and it will be of major concern to backers once more even against a team as out of sorts as Milan have been this season.
Even with that in mind, the 11/4 on a first away win since October for Inzaghi’s side might be ambitious so the match betting market might be best avoided although in a fixture where forwards have flourished, take both teams to score at 10/11. Menez looks great value to score either first (15/2) or anytime (14/5) and a third 1-1 draw between the teams in four outings is worth a wager at 11/2.