Lazio vs AC Milan Match Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More
Lazio and AC Milan go head-to-head in matchday three of the Serie A on Sunday with the latter looking to maintain their 100% record.
In their first and, so far, only home match of the season, Lazio dropped points against newly promoted SPAL 2013, playing out a 0-0 draw. However, the Biancocelesti managed to pick up all three points in their second match of the season against Chievo.
Meanwhile, Milan's 2017/18 campaign has got off to a flying start, picking up maximum points in the league as well as sealing qualification to the Europa League group stages, conceding only one goal in the process. The Rossoneri's last league game came against Cagliari, as they fought off the visitors to seal a hard-earned 2-1 victory.
The two Italian giants have had many memorable clashes over the years. However, one that immediately springs to mind is the 4-4 draw between the two sides on matchday five of the 1999/2000 season. Although Lazio would eventually go on to claim their second Scudetto, beating Juventus by one point, Milan hardly made it easy for the Roman outfit - pushing them all the way as both teams were eventually forced to settle for a point.
Andriy Shevchenko opened the scoring for Milan, before Juan Sebastian Veron equalised. A four minute spell saw a flurry of goals fly in, the first coming via an own goal from Sinisa Mihajilovic, giving Milan the lead once more, before Diego Simeone and Marcelo Salas put the hosts 3-2 up. Just before half time, Shevchenko would double his tally for the day, pulling Milan level.
Into the second half, Shevchenko would go on to complete his hat-trick on 69 minutes before Lazio equalised through Salas just three minutes after. Following an exhausting 70 minutes of fast paced football, the goals petered out, seeing the match end in an enthralling 4-4 draw.
Ciro Immobile vs Leonardo Bonucci
The contest between Ciro Immobile and Leonardo Bonucci will prove to be decisive on the day, with the former Borussia Dortmund man notching twice against Juventus in the Supercoppa Italia and once in their last league game against Chievo.
It is clear that Lazio rely on the attacking prowess of Immobile as he has scored three of their five goals across all competitions this season. Of course the 27-year-old can score against any opposition, as he proved last season, notching 23 goals from 36 games.
Of course, Bonucci also has the advantage of having already face Immobile this season as the defender was a part of the Juventus side that fell to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Lazio, with his compatriot, Immobile, scoring twice in that game.
Should Bonucci find himself capable of learning from experience and replicating the kind of form that has helped Milan to five clean sheets from six games across all competitions this season, the 30-year-old defender should, with some luck, be able to neutralise the threat of Immobile and keep the striker from adding to his tally for the season.
Lazio's Felipe Anderson and Nani are also set to miss out on the clash against Milan through injury, with the former suffering a tear in the abductor muscle seeing him sidelined for a significant length of time.
AC Milan's first choice right back in Andrea Conti will be set to miss the trip to Rome after the Italian picked up a minor knock against Israel on international duty. As a result, second string full back, Davide Calabria could be set to make his first league appearance of the season.
Giacomo Bonaventura is nearing a full-recovery for Milan, as the Italian midfielder looks to overcome the muscular problmes that have seen him miss four games for the Rossoneri
Also, with Hakan Calhanoglu struggling for fitness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines at Bayer Leverkusen before his switch to Milan, the Turkish star could be set to make way for Lucas Biglia, who has just come back from an injury of his own as he looks to build up his fitness.
Potential Lazio Starting Lineup: Strakosha, Wallace Santos, de Vrij, Radu, Basta, Parolo, Lucas Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic, Luis Alberto, Immobile.
Potential AC Milan Starting Lineup: Donnarumma, Rodriguez, Bonucci, Musacchio, Calabria, Biglia, Kessie, Montolivo, Borini, Cutrone, Suso.
With the resurgence and dominance Milan have shown in recent weeks it wouldn't be absurd if they were able to take the game by the scruff of the neck early on and run away with the match.
However, Lazio have proven they are more than capable of handling themselves in big games, as evidenced by their 3-2 win over Juventus in the Supercoppa Italia. The goalscoring prowess of Immobile cannot be understated with the Italian being an ever-present threat.
Both sides are evenly balanced in both attack and defence, with quality at the back compounding firepower at the other end of the pitch. With Lazio playing at home and the fans getting behind them it could really go either way, although in this instance the evenness in quality between the two sides will be reflected in the scoreline.
Prediction: Lazio 2-2 AC Milan