Probable lineups, predictions, tactics, team news and key stats
The quest for the AC Milan Scudetto resumes Sunday evening against Lazio, while the Rossoneri looking to bounce back from a derby setback in the Coppa Italia.
Things are heating up in the Serie A title race, with Inter Milan currently in the lead after beating AS Roma 3-1 on Saturday. However, with a single point difference between the two Milanese clubs, the Rossoneri have a chance to reclaim top spot with a win over Lazio.
After being dropped from the Coppa Italia by Inter in midweek, Milan will now turn to their Shield bid and travel to Rome to face Lazio on Sunday with just five games left in the Serie A schedule. Stefano Pioli’s men have the toughest run-in of the title contenders, with tricky tests against Fiorentina, Verona, Atalanta and Sassuolo after Sunday’s trip to Lazio.
They can take solace in the fact that they have yet to lose a league game since mid-January and have kept six consecutive clean sheets in Serie A, a feat necessitated by a dearth of goals – Milan n has scored just five goals in his previous eight. Games. Thus, Pioli’s attackers will have to find their scorers as soon as possible.
Lazio, meanwhile, are in a battle of their own, battling for European qualification with Roma and Fiorentina. the Biancocelesti are currently in sixth position, which is enough to qualify for the Europa Conference League, but are level on points with Fiorentina who have one game in hand.
They have bounced back from poor form to win four of their last six matches, although three of those wins have come against clubs now in the last four. Moreover, Maurizio Sarri’s men do not have a good record in big games this season, having lost five of their six league games against opponents in the top four of Serie A.
AC Milan, on the other hand, have lost just one of their nine Serie A games this season against other top-six clubs, winning five. Lazio have already lost twice to Milan this season, both at the San Siro, including a 4-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final loss in February and a 2-0 league loss in September. They welcome the Rossoneri at the Stadio Olimpico after dispatching six unanswered goals against them this season.
Team News and Tactics
“A lot of players had the flu this week, we are still trying to prepare a team for tomorrow night. We need points, there are only 5 games left. The result of this season will not determine my stay, only the president will determine it. will do.” – Maurizio Sarri #LazioMilan 🦅 pic.twitter.com/h7LJjAwbSG
—LazioLand (@Lazio_Land) April 23, 2022
Due to an outbreak in the Lazio camp last week, some of Maurizio Sarri’s first-team players were unable to train ahead of Sunday’s clash. Marius Adamonis, Stefan Radu, Danilo Cataldi and Raul Moro all suffer from fever and gastrointestinal problems. All four players are major doubts, while Patric and Pedro won’t be able to feature for Lazio due to muscle injuries.
Lazio boss Sarri could deploy his team in a 4-3-3 system. Milan’s defense haven’t conceded a goal since late February and will present a tough task for Lazio. Playing in midfield will be difficult, so the Biancocelesti may have to rely on creativity from the flanks or dedicated pressing to trigger counter-attacks.
Thomas Strakosha will be goalkeeper for the hosts, protected by the centre-back partnership of Francesco Acerbi and Luiz Felipe, who is likely to enter the squad in Patric’s place. Manuel Lazzari will be tasked with providing width from right-back to create overload, while Adam Marusic is expected to retain his place on the left.
Up front in midfield, it will fall to the aging shoulders of Lucas Leiva to keep an eye on Franck Kessie’s attacking involvement. The midfield duo of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto will provide the push forward.
Ciro Immobile is a certainty in the No.9 role and will pose a threat to the Milan defence. The veteran hitman is set to become the fourth player in Europe’s Big-Five leagues to score 25+ goals in three or more seasons since the 2016/17 campaign. Former West Ham winger Felipe Anderson and Mattia Zaccagni are expected to support him from the wide areas.
Probable composition (4-3-3): Strakosha; Lazzari, Felipe, Acerbi, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto; Anderson, Motionless, Zaccagni
In a big blow for the Rossoneri, Stefano Pioli revealed during his press conference that midfielder Ismael Bennacer will not travel with the team after suffering an ankle injury in the game against Inter. Otherwise, there are no new injury concerns with long-time absentees Simon Kjaer and Alessandro Florenzi being the only absentees.
Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have returned to training after recovering from their respective injuries and could be brought on the bench in the later stages of the game as Pioli is likely to stay with the same team that lost to Inter .
🗣️ “We need fire in our hearts but ice in our veins.”
The Coach appeals to passion and concentration before #LazioMilan
— AC Milan (@acmilan) April 23, 2022
Pioli has most often opted to field his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, and there is little reason to suggest he will do otherwise against Lazio. Mike Maignan is guaranteed to start in the visitors’ goal. The French goalkeeper will be protected by a formidable central back duo of Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu.
The centre-back duo lack the distribution abilities of Kjaer or Alessio Romagnoli but bring athleticism, recovering pace and smart decision-making to the baseline. Theo Hernadez is more of a left-back than a full-back, although his defensive ability has increased significantly over the past few seasons. Another attacking threat is Davide Calabria, his counterpart, but he’s also a capable one-on-one defender.
The double pivot is perhaps Pioli’s best-known component that has the potential to determine the outcome of the game. Franck Kessie is a tough, energetic and disruptive midfielder who will be key for Milan. He will be joined by Sandro Tonali, a classic deep playmaker, who will dictate the tempo past the centre-backs.
Brahim Diaz is stuck in a cycle and will have to rediscover the creative abilities he showed in the first half of the season. Alexis Saelemaekers could be deployed on the right wing, while Rafael Leao remains the most dangerous striker on Pioli’s attacking list. With his direct dribbling and powerful runs from the left flank, the Portuguese sensation can shake things up on the pitch.
Olivier Giroud’s productivity in front of goal suffered from a lack of service behind him. He has scored just one goal in his last ten games for the Rossoneri and will need to improve his returns in front of goal.
Probable composition (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Giroud
- AC Milan have gone unbeaten in their last 11 Serie A games, but have drawn five of those games.
- the Rossoneri have beaten Lazio twice already this campaign, both at the San Siro. The last time they scored three wins in a season against the capital club was in the 2004/05 campaign (Super Cup success and a league double).
- Lazio are unbeaten in 27 of their last 29 Serie A home games and have scored the second-most goals in front of home fans this season (36).
- AC Milan have the best away record in the Italian top flight, collecting 37 points out of a possible 48 and losing only once this season.
- Lazio have lost 13 of their last 14 league encounters against teams that started the day as league leaders.
Player to watch
— Serie A League (@SerieA_EN) April 22, 2022
Lazio will again rely on their star man Immobile, who has already scored 25 goals this season. The talismanic striker is not only top of the Serie A goalscoring charts, but he is also in great form with four goals in his last six Serie A games for Lazio as they seek European qualification. His linking play with general midfielder Milinkovic-Savic will be imperative for the hosts’ chances in this game.
Lazio 0-1 AC Milan
Both teams have been nearly impenetrable at the back since the start of the year and have kept most of the clean sheets in 2022 – nine for Milan and six for Lazio. So, we can expect this contest to be a cautious affair at first with clear odds likely to have a bounty before eventually opening up.
AC Milan will be wary of losing any more points by the end of the season while Lazio will be desperate for a result to keep their European hopes alive. While the Rossoneri will be under more pressure than their rivals, given the great play of Stefano Pioli’s troops, The Hard Tackle expect them to register a vital win in the capital before a tough run-in.