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Lazio vs AC Milan
Match Date: 24-01-2015
Location: Rome
Stadium Olimpico
Referee N/A
Time 20:45 CET
Serie A hits the reset button and begins the second round of matches for the 2014-2015 season. As a special point of interest for all Laziali, Lazio will be wearing a newly designed jersey that dawns the eagle across the front of the jersey, commemorating the famous 1987 shirt and Lazio’s 115th anniversary. Lazio host AC Milan on Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico and look to bounce back from a tough 1-0 loss to Napoli. AC Milan enters Rome also coming off a loss, a more shocking one than Lazio, at home to Atalanta. The reverse fixture of this match in week one in Milan had AC victorious with a convincing 3-1 win, Lazio did have slightly more possession and Candreva missed a penalty shot, but this still was not enough on the day.

Lazio’s loss to Napoli has seen a shift of power at the top of the table in Serie A. Lazio fall to 5th on 31 points, only one point ahead of Fiorentina, who have done well to claw back into the race and reassert themselves as a contender for Champions League football next season. With their week nineteen wins, both Napoli and Sampdoria sit tied for third on 33 points. Genoa sit 7th on 28 points and AC Milan, Inter and Palermo round out the top ten on 26 points. Excluding Roma and Juventus, who are both considerably ahead of the rest of the pack in Serie A, the table is tight and there are still very rewarding accomplishments to play for. Lazio must enter this match with the confidence that they are capable of reaching Europe, Pioli is not shy of stating this as the team’s aspiration and the players must believe.

A similar starting line-up as was shown against Napoli should also be the case against AC Milan. Marchetti should start back in goal coming off his one match ban, especially considering the Higuain goal was suspect, although it was a rocket, the shot should not have gone in on the short side, with that in mind, Berisha cannot be blamed for the loss. In defence, Cana and Radu should start in the centre, as De Vrij is still recovering from injury. Basta and Cavanda will likely feature on the right and left hand sides of defence, Cavanda moved up the park well against Napoli and had them out of sorts several times, he will need the same type of performance against Milan.

In midfield, Biglia, Ledesma and Parolo should start for Lazio once again, the trio will need to find more creative ways to break down the AC Milan back line and develop chances from positions closer to goal.  If Mauri feels well enough after nearly two full weeks rest from the Roma match he may start in place of Ledesma, if he does not start he should feature. Up front, Pioli will likely also start with Keita and Candreva on the wings, centered by Djordjevic as striker. Felipe Anderson is not 100% and will likely again miss out this week. It is possible that Pioli may use Klose and Djordjevic in tandem once again, as was seen in the second half of the Napoli game. Cataldi is healthy and has been making the most of his opportunities; I expect to see him pick up some time in this match in order to gain the valuable experience and confidence he still needs to further his development.

As impressive as Lazio were against Napoli, they still lost the match, and were unable to find a way on to the score sheet. Milan have a firm back line and they will make sure that Lazio will see very few good opportunities on goal, the chances Lazio are given will need to be converted, clinical finishing is essential. Lazio are still in the picture for Champions league football and they must not give up on this goal. A win against Milan at home will add the confidence that is needed in the dressing room, another loss after a dominating performance will be deflating, forcing Pioli and his men to answer unwanted questions. I like Lazio to rebound with a strong performance against AC Milan in week twenty, Lazio must not accept anything less than 3 points and continue to prove their quality.

Writer: Michael Petricca
Team Name Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
10AC Milan381313125650652
Lazio vs AC Milan
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