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Preview: Serie A Round 11 – AC Milan vs. Lazio
By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will be looking to build on Thursday night’s win over SPAL when they host Lazio at San Siro on Sunday night.

The Rossoneri hardly put on a vintage display in their win on Halloween night, but ultimately Suso’s 62nd minute free-kick was enough to give Stefano Pioli his first win as Milan boss and move his side into the top half of the table.

However, the game against Lazio promises to be a much sterner test against a dangerous side who have been full of goals recently…

Game date: Sunday 3 November
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Gianpaolo Calvarese


TEAM NEWS

Pioli made four changes to his starting XI from the 2-1 defeat to Roma in Thursday’s win over SPAL, bringing Leo Duarte, Ismael Bennacer, Samu Castillejo and Krzysztof Piatek into the fold.

The 53-year-old admitted after the game though that he would likely make more changes to the team against Lazio due to the compact nature of the schedule, which will see Milan play three games in seven days.

Mattia Caldara is still out as he continues his recovery from the ligament injury which has kept him out for over six months, but he is set to feature again for the Primavera, while Ricardo Rodriguez is still battling a muscle problem.

At this point it is essentially guess work regarding Milan’s probable XI, but given that Mateo Musacchio was brought off at half-time against SPAL and Leo Duarte was shifted into the middle with Davide Calabria taking his spot, we can potential expect that to happen from the start on Sunday.

Image: acmilan.com

In addition, we think that Lucas Biglia will come in for Ismael Bennacer to provide experience in the regista role, while the out-of-form Franck Kessie could make way for Giacomo Bonaventura.

Testing Lazio’s back line will be the order of the day, meaning Suso can expect to get his starting spot back, while Krzysztof Piatek may be replaced by Rafael Leao.

PREDICTED MILAN XI (4-3-3): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Duarte, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Paqueta, Biglia, Bonaventura; Suso, Leao, Calhanoglu.

THE OPPONENTS

Lazio come into the game in fine form, having just recorded their best result of the season beating Torino 4-0 at home on Wednesday night.

The Aquile sit fifth in the standings, just a point behind city rivals Roma in fourth, but Ciro Immobile is leading the scoring charts having netted 12 so far – more than Milan have scored all season.

In their last five Serie A games, Lazio have won two and drawn two, scoring 12 goals and conceding six.

Simone Inzaghi is expected to have a full bill of health travelling to Milan, with no suspensions to contend with either.

PREDICTED LAZIO XI (3-5-2): Strakosha; Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Bastos; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Luis Alberto, Lulic; Immobile, Correa.

HEAD TO HEAD

Lazio’s record against Milan at San Siro in Serie A is nothing short of staggering. They have not won a league game against the Rossoneri away from home since 1989, ironically settled by a Paolo Maldini own goal, with 18 defeats and 11 draws since.

In addition to that, Milan have had the edge over the last 18 seasons, winning 15 of the previous 36 between the two sides, with Lazio only winning seven.

The same meeting between the two sides last season was ultimately a game to forget until 11 minutes from time, when Milan were awarded a penalty which Franck Kessie despatched to give Gennaro Gattuso’s side a 1-0 win.

However, a few days later the Rossoneri would be dumped out of the Coppa Italia semi-finals by Inzaghi’s side as Joaquin Correa netted a second-half winner.

Match facts (Via Whoscored)

  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 13 of Lazio‘s last 16 games (Serie A).
  • Milan have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 6 matches against Lazio in all competitions.
  • Lazio have scored at least 2 goals in their last 5 matches (Serie A).
  • Lazio are undefeated in their last 5 matches (Serie A).

ONES TO WATCH

Just as with the SPAL match, there are a number of positions which appear to be up for grabs for Milan under Pioli, so several players will be under scrutiny from the boss.

However, a possible key for the Diavolo will boil down to whether Suso can build on a big goal and become Milan’s creative force once again.

The visitors have plenty of threats as their free-scoring nature suggests, though it is impossible to ignore Immobile’s predatory instinct in front of goal.

The Italy international has formed a formidable partnership with Correa, who is an ideal second striker in the pairing and was linked with a move to the Rossoneri during the summer.

PREDICTION

For a Milan side that is still going through a lot of growing pains and will hardly take bags of confidence from a narrow win over SPAL, there is no doubt that the visit of such an in-form team presents a big problem.

However, we are going with what history has dictated in that Lazio really struggle to win at San Siro.

Prediction: AC Milan 1-1 Lazio


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