MATCH PREVIEW: LAZIO VS JUVENTUS, THE HOME SIDE LOOK TO RAIN ON JUVENTUS' PARADE AS BOTH SIDES AIM FOR CONSISTENCY

Two sides searching for some consistency clash on Saturday night as 5th-placed host 8th- placed .

 

Maurizio Sarri’s men have taken just two wins from their past five games in all competitions. Nevertheless, they have had some major scalps already by winning against Roma and defending champions Inter. That 4-1 loss to Hellas Verona, inspired by Giovanni Simeone, was an anomaly but they are scoring well.

 

Lazio’s 25 goals already see them as the third-highest scorers in the league, with star man Ciro Immobile getting 10 of them. They will fancy their chances against their opponents, given the attacking outlets around Immobile though their defence needs to remain on high-alert.

 

It has not been the most triumphant of returns for Max Allegri to Juventus. The Old Lady have only been able to win five times so far to go with four losses. They suffered back-to-back defeats to Sassuolo and Hellas Verona in October before winning 1-0 against Fiorentina last time out. Juventus are also struggling to score in most matches, with their top goal-getting being on three goals.

 

The famed defense has also been showing cracks with Giorgio Chiellini missing time due to injury. Allegri knows he has a massive job on his hands if the team is to be a contender for the title and Lazio will prove no easy opponents.

 

TEAM NEWS

Immobile left the Italy camp with pain in his left calf, putting his participation in doubt. Adam Marusic had contracted covid and will most certainly miss the clash as well, having not trained in a while. Manuel Lazzari is another who will not be available due to injury.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Reina; Hysaj, Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Alberto; Anderson, Muriqi, Pedro

 

Juventus have quite a few injury concerns to deal with, starting with Federico Bernardeschi and Giorgio Chiellini completely ruled out. Mattia De Sciglio is also expected to only make the bench while Paulo Dybala was withdrawn at halftime against Uruguay. He is expected to start however, as is Rodrigo Bentancur.

 

PROBABLE LINE-UP: Perin; Cuadrado, Bonucci, De Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, McKennie, Locatelli, Rabiot; Dybala, Morata

 

GAMECHANGERS

With Immobile not likely to be at his 100% even if he starts, focus will shift to this supporting cast. Felipe Anderson has been a career rejuvenation in Italy, after a dismal time with West Ham last season. The Brazilian attacker has already racked up three goals and three assists, including one against Salernitana last time.

 

Anderson is averaging a passing accuracy of 84% along with completing 60% of his dribbles. All of it bodes well against Juventus, who do not have the paciest backline in the league. Furthermore, the fact that the Old Lady’s full-backs love pushing forward will allow Anderson to exploit the pace, whether it be setting up teammates or taking shots. The midfielders will have their hands full in marking the wide man, especially as Locatelli struggles for form this season.

 

It is hard to look past Dybala as the main man for Juventus this season. Three goals and three assists in nine games has seen him develop into the foremost threat in the side. Dybala’s intelligent play and passing gives his teammates time to move into dangerous positions.

 

Though he starts as one of the two forwards, Dybala’s free role in behind the striker means that he can even drop out wide to receive the ball before driving at the opponent. Most of Lazio’s midfielders are attack minded which will prove to be a disadvantage as Dybala is a tricky customer. More than just orchestrating the play, he can also take shots from distance which pose danger.

 

PREDICTIONS

Lazio have made a habit of showing up in the big games, and a repeat of the same will not be surprising. Meanwhile, the Bianconeri know they have to keep the wins coming if they want to climb the table and catch the contenders. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 win for Lazio.

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