Lazio vs AC Milan: Serie A Preview & Potential Lineups
Serie A Matchday 19 rounds off with a mammoth fixture at the Stadio Olimpico as top-four hopefuls Lazio and reigning champions AC Milan go head-to-head on Tuesday evening.
Lazio experienced a false start to the new calendar year, following up a dismal 2-1 defeat at promoted Lecce with an equally disappointing 2-2 home draw against Empoli.
However, Maurizio Sarri's side got back on the rails last weekend, scoring on either side of halftime to pull off a confidence-boosting 2-0 triumph at Sassuolo and steady the ship.
Unfortunately, they paid a hefty price at the Mapei Stadium as headline performer Ciro Immobile suffered a nasty thigh injury that will rule him out for this fixture.
Even without Immobile, Lazio claimed a narrow 1-0 home triumph over Bologna on Thursday to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals and set themselves up nicely for Milan's visit.
Stefano Pioli's side experienced contrasting fortunes last week as fierce rivals Inter Milan thrashed them 3-0 in the Saudi Arabia-held Supercoppa Italiana showpiece.
Indeed, the Rossoneri head into proceedings in the midst of an underwhelming four-match winless run in all competitions (D2, L2), including a pair of 2-2 draws against Roma and Lecce in Serie A.
Having fallen 12 points behind runaway leaders Napoli, who ousted fellow Campania rivals Salernitana 2-0 on Saturday, Milan could wave goodbye to their Scudetto hopes unless they win here.
Sarri has turned Lazio into a water-tight defensive unit during his second year in charge, with only Juventus (12) keeping more clean sheets in the opening 18 Serie A matches than the Biancocelesti (10).
Since Sarri won't be able to call upon the services of Immobile, Lazio's best hope of avoiding a third consecutive top-flight defeat to Milan for the first time since 2009 may well rest upon his defensive set-up.
Worryingly for Lazio, their ever-growing problems with inconsistent performances at the Olimpico have seen their last five home league outings fluctuate between different outcomes (W2, D2, L1).
With fifth-placed Atalanta only three points adrift on the back of an enthralling 3-3 draw at Juventus on Sunday, Milan may have to worry about their top-four hopes, let alone their title defense.
Unlike last season, the Rossoneri have often failed to showcase their 'bounce-back' ability, going winless in all three Serie A away fixtures in which they conceded first (D2, L1).
But delivering action from the get-go, Pioli's men have scored a league joint-second-high 12 goals within the opening 30 minutes of play this season, highlighting the potential for a quick-fire start.
Lazio vs AC Milan Potential Line-ups
Lazio (4-3-3): Ivan Provedel; Manuel Lazzari, Patric, Alessio Romagnoli, Adam Marusic; Danilo Cataldi, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto; Pedro, Felipe Anderson, Mattia Zaccagni.
Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjaer, Theo Hernandez; Ismael Bennacer, Sandro Tonali; Junior Messias, Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.