Despite the defeat to Sassuolo, Milan got a bit lucky last round as Atalanta were held to a draw against Roma at Stadio Olimpico. Nevertheless, the Champions League race is extremely tight and the Rossoneri need to claim all three points against Lazio this evening.
Milan are currently in third place with 66 points, two points behind Atalanta who won their game against Bologna yesterday. On a positive note, though, Juventus got just one point from their away trip to Fiorentina. With a win tonight, the Rossoneri could thus redeem themselves a bit from the fiasco against Sassuolo.
However, they will take on a tough opponent and it’s clear that maximum concentration will be needed to claim another three points at the Stadio Olimpico. The Biancocelesti have one game in hand and could thus still enter the Champions League race for real, but they need a win this evening.
Stefano Pioli will have a strong squad to rely on for the game this evening as several players have recently recovered from injury and are ready to fight for a starting spot. However, Milan will be without their star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been training apart from the squad in the last few days at Milanello.
By the looks of it, he will be back for the game against Benevento next weekend and that’s a plus for the Rossoneri. In the meantime, the manager will have to find a solution to keep the attack going and according to the latest reports, Mario Mandzukic will get the chance from the first minute.
Rafael Leao hasn’t impressed since filling in up front and it’s not exactly a surprise that Pioli is looking to try something else. Furthermore, the Croatian is improving physically and he was brought in exactly for this in January, that is to be the striker when Ibrahimovic isn’t available for whatever reason.
Theo Hernandez was also a question mark in the last few days but he has been included in the squad and it seems he will start as well. Ismael Bennacer is also back and will slot in alongside Franck Kessie in the midfield tandem. In other words, there will be a total of three changes to the starting XI for this game.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Rebic; Mandzukic.
Probable Lazio XI (3-5-2): Reina; Marusic, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Luis Alberto, Fares; Correa, Immobile.
- Milan have won both of their last two Serie A games against Lazio, their longest streak against the Biancocelesti since 2009 (run of three).
- Lazio have not kept a clean sheet against Milan in a Serie A game since February 2012 (2-0 win). Since then, the Rossoneri have found the net in 17 such games in a row (1.8 goals per game on average).
- Lazio have won each of their last nine home games in the top-flight; they could win 10 such games at home in a row for the third time in their Serie A history, after 1937 and 1974.
- Milan have won 13 away Serie A games this term; they could become the first team to win 14 of their first 16 games on the road in a single Serie A season (currently the fastest team to reach 14 away wins was Inter — in 17 games in 2006-07).
- Lazio’s Ciro Immobile has scored six goals in 12 matches against AC Milan in Serie A, including two goals in the two most recent such games. Indeed, he also scored a hat-trick against the Rossoneri at the Olimpico stadium in September 2017.
It’s a very difficult game to call as Milan have struggled to perform recently, and the absence of Ibrahimovic will surely be noticed. On the other hand, they are the strongest away side in the league and even though it might sound silly, this will probably give them a big boost this evening.
Lazio have done really well in recent weeks but suffered a heavy defeat to Napoli last time out, which perhaps has affected their confidence. Therefore, although we can be certain that the game will be a tight one (just like the reverse fixture), a Milan win seems like the most likely outcome.
Lazio 1-2 AC Milan
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