Juventus vs Lazio: Serie A Preview & Potential Line-ups
There's hardly a better way to round off a pre-World Cup Serie A season than Sunday's mouth-watering top-four six-pointer between Juventus and Lazio at the Allianz Stadium.
Connoisseurs of defensive-minded football will be looking forward to this blockbuster fixture as the two best-performing backlines in the Italian top flight meet each other.
With only seven goals conceded across the opening 14 Serie A matchdays, Juventus boast the best defensive record in the league, with Lazio trailing by one.
Since both teams have found goals hard to come by of late, their well-documented defensive resilience could prove crucial to deciding this high-stakes affair.
Following a thoroughly underwhelming nine-game league start (W3, D4, L2), Juventus have hit their stride, starting with a keenly-contested 1-0 Derby della Mole win at Torino.
Massimiliano Allegri's men have since added another four top-flight victories without conceding to the tally, including a narrow 1-0 triumph at basement boys Hellas Verona on Thursday.
Despite leapfrogging Inter Milan, a side they toppled 2-0 in their most recent home outing, to fourth, the 31-time Italian champions cannot afford to get complacent.
Injury-plagued Juventus will have to be laser-sharp if they're to remain on the upward trajectory, as second-placed Lazio come to town reluctant to make friends.
Teenage prodigy Luka Romero slotted home a second-half winner to fire Maurizio Sarri's team to a 1-0 home win over Serie A debutants Monza on Thursday, keeping them in firm control of their top-four hopes.
Keen to capture their first Champions League qualification since 2019/20, the visitors have been nothing short of outstanding this term, registering a stellar 86% unbeaten ratio across the opening 14 league rounds (W9, D3, L2).
However, their top-four credentials will face a stern test in Turin.
Despite failing to make it out of the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013/14, Juventus' mini-revival in Serie A has alleviated the pressure on Allegri.
The Italian manager has grown into a highly unpopular figure among the Bianconeri faithful, even though his men have won their last three home league fixtures via an aggregate scoreline of 9-0.
You'd have to go back to March 2021 for the last time Juventus strung together four successive home victories in Serie A, but they seem to be in a prime position to achieve that feat this weekend.
Since a dull 'nil-nil' draw in 2012, the record-time Italian champions have tallied a whopping 37 goals in 19 top-flight encounters against Lazio, suggesting neutrals could be in for a treat on Sunday.
Lazio may have conceded 2+ goals on their last four Serie A visits to the Allianz Stadium (D1, L3), but Sarri has turned his side into a defensive force to be reckoned with this term.
Of the eight league goals they've shipped thus far in 2022/23, only one has come on hostile turf, with the Biancocelesti recording four successive league shutouts on the road.
Another clean sheet would see Lazio go five Serie A away games without conceding on the spin for only the second time in the club's top-flight history, last achieving that milestone in 1998.
There's another piece of history open for the taking as they could get on the scoresheet in four Serie A away meetings with Juventus in succession for the first time since 2002!
Juventus vs Lazio Potential Line-ups
Juventus (3-5-2): Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Leonardo Bonucci, Gleison Bremer; Juan Cuadrado, Nicolo Fagioli, Manuel Locatelli, Adrien Rabiot, Filip Kostic; Moise Kean, Arkadiusz Milik.
Lazio (4-3-3): Ivan Provedel; Elseid Hysaj, Nicolo Casale, Alessio Romagnoli, Adam Marusic; Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Danilo Cataldi, Matias Vecino; Matteo Cancellieri, Felipe Anderson, Pedro.