Serie A preview: AC Milan vs. Lazio – Team news, opposition insight, stats and more

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan face a huge test of their credentials in the race for the top four when they face off against Lazio at San Siro on Saturday afternoon.

After dropping points against Cremonese in midweek with a 1-1 draw, it is almost getting to a situation whereby Milan have to win every game in order to give themselves a chance at qualifying for the next edition of the Champions League, while balancing a semi-final against Inter in the current edition.

Stefano Pioli said in his pre-match press conference that the decision to rotate in the league is one that he stands by, despite the dropped points that have resulted.

Game date: Saturday, May 6
Kick-off time: 15:00 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Rapuano (VAR: Mazzoleni)

Team news

There will be no option but to field the best possible starting line-up for Pioli tomorrow against Lazio given how tight the top four race is, meaning that he is expected to change as many as eight players from Wednesday’s draw with the Grigiorossi.

In terms of injury news, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tommaso Pobega are continuing to recover from respective calf and rib problems so they will miss out, but Fikayo Tomori is back training with the rest of the squad and will be available.

According to what is being reported by Sky among other sources, Pioli will stick with Mike Maignan in goal while Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez should be the full-backs. Tomori should come back in at centre-back alongside Simon Kjaer, with Malick Thiaw dropping to the bench..

Rade Krunic and Sandro Tonali are down as the midfield double pivot with Ismael Bennacer ahead of them as the attacking midfielder, forming a triangle of sorts to give balance in the middle of the field.

Finally, the attack should see Junior Messias get the nod on the right wing over Brahim Diaz with Rafael Leao on the opposite flank and Olivier Giroud coming back in to lead the line.

There is another thing that Milan need to be careful of: Kjaer, Kalulu, Thiaw, Rebic and Pobega (who will not feature) are all one yellow card away from getting a one-game suspension.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Tonali, Krunic; Messias, Bennacer, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

It has been a season of two halves for Lazio really, given that they spent most of the first half of the campaign outside of the top four spots but they have now been second for coming up to two months.

Sarri’s men have won eight of their last 11 games in Serie A which has seen them burst into the top four and stay there. That run included impressive wins against Napoli, Roma and Juventus, though they did lose to Inter at the end of April.

According to the latest from Sky (via MilanNews), winger Mattia Zaccagni did not take part in either of the two training sessions that the Biancocelesti held on Friday in view of tomorrow Saturday’s match against Milan.

The former Hellas Verona man is struggling with a muscle strain, and will be replaced on the left wing by Pedro. Sarri is set to name his squad list shortly and then it will be understood whether Zaccagni will at least get on the bench.

In addition to Zaccagni’s absence, Sarri will be without midfield duo Danilo Cataldi and Matias Vecino.

In terms of the other news, Alessio Romagnoli and Elseid Hysaj should return to the defensive department as the centre-back pairing, joining Adam Marusic and Nicolo Casale.

Marcos Antonio should keep a spot in the midfield and Toma Basic is ahead of Luis Alberto at the moment to complete the trio which also includes Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

The front three should be composed of Felipe Anderson on the right wing and Ciro Immobile as the centre-forward along with Pedro.

Probable Lazio XI (4-3-3): Provedel; Marusic, Casale, Romagnoli, Hysaj; Miliknovic-Savic, Marcos Antonio, Basic; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Pedro.

Head to head

Milan have played against Lazio 187 times in their history, winning 83 of those games with 64 draws and 40 losses, which is a win percentage of 44.4%.

The first ever meetings between the two clubs came all the way back in the 1927-28 season in the Italian first division, with the side from the capital winning 3-1 at home before the Rossoneri won 2-1 at San Siro.

The game earlier this season was one to forget for Milan as they were beaten 4-0 at the Olimpico in what was probably the low point of the January crisis. Goals from Milinkovic-Savic, Zaccagni, Luis Alberto and Anderson sealed a comfortable win.

However, Lazio’s record in Milano is not as good and they lost twice there against Pioli’s men last season. A 2-0 triumph in the league was followed up by a 4-0 rout in the Coppa Italia.

Match facts…

➤ Milan have drawn more games against Lazio in Serie A than against any other side (59/159 matches, along with 69 Rossoneri and 31 Biancocelesti wins) – however the last draw between these teams came on 25th November 2018 (1-1).

➤ After the win against Milan in the first meeting this season, Lazio could win both of their matches against Milan in a single season for the second time in Serie A (also 1977/78).

➤ Milan have won four of their last five matches against Lazio in the second part of the season in Serie A (L1), as many as in their previous 16 (D10 L2).

➤ Only Napoli (24 in 11 matches) have gained more points than Lazio (21 in 11 matches) and Milan (15 in 10 matches) against teams which are currently in the top seven in Serie A.

➤ Milan have drawn four of their last five Serie A matches (W1) and have won only one of their four previous matches directly before a Champions League knockout game this season (D2 L1), 1-0 against Torino in February.

➤ Lazio have picked up the most points in the last 11 games in Serie A this season: 25 (W8 D1 L2).

➤ Lazio have kept the most away clean sheets in the big five European Leagues this season (11 in 16 away games).

➤ Lazio are the only team against which Ante Rebic has both scored more than one goal and provided more than one assist in the big five European Leagues (2+2).

➤ Ciro Immobile has been involved in nine goals in his last eight Serie A matches against Milan (seven goals and two assists). However, the striker has won fewer games against Milan than
against any other side in the top-flight: 3 in 15 matches (min. 10 games).

➤ Luis Alberto has scored three goals against Milan in Serie A; only against Fiorentina (four) has he scored more goals in Serie A. After his goal in the first meeting this season against the Rossoneri, the midfielder could score in both of his games in a season against a single opponent for the first time in the top-flight.

Ones to watch

Milan need big performances from their big players in this one, starting with Giroud and Leao in attack. The Frenchman has scored goals in the biggest games since arriving, while Leao has seven goal contributions in eight games since the start of April.

Tonali will be crucial in the midfield just as Tomori will have to be at his best to keep out a Lazio front three that are very tough to stop on their day, and Theo is also overdue a goal.

Lazio have five different players on double digits for goal contributions in the league this season: Zaccagni (16), Milinkovic-Savic (14), Immobile (13), Anderson (11) and Alberto (10), all of whom must be closely watched.

At the other end there is no doubting that Romagnoli will be wanting to get one over on his former club, with Hysaj also called upon to keep Milan’s ‘Theao’ left flank quiet too.


Milan have had a knack since Pioli arrived for responding well after disappointments and performing at their best when the chips are down, which is a trend we hope continues.

This is a game that the Diavolo virtually have to win, not just because of what it means for the top four race but also because of the statement it would send to other teams and the confidence it would instil.

AC Milan 3-1 Lazio


Tags AC Milan Milan Lazio


  1. There is no more margin for error. None. It’s do or die now. CL qualification is not even in our hands anymore. We have to win all of our remaining games and hope other slip up. We’re level with Roma and only above them at the moment simply because we’ve scored more goals (it would be head to head record and then goal difference before this, but we’re even there too), but we need the to beat Inter and also hope that Juventus drop points to Atalanta. This weekend is almost our last chance for results to go our way to give us a shot at finishing top 4 assuming we win all of our remaining games.

  2. Imagine if our former captain we let leave for free while our defense was in shambles this year helps eliminate us from the CL. Would be ironic. Hope it will be the opposite though. Those terrible decisions by management look like they are piling up now. Just keeping our players from last year for a meager 10 million might have garanteed us an extra 70 next year and protect the core of our team. If we dont secure the CL spot with the league or winning it all , we are looking at having to make tough decisions that could of easily been avoided with very minimal investment to keep the winning squad intact.

    1. Lol. I don’t think our inability to score against Empoli has anything to do with letting Romagnoli leave for free. You just can’t pick one event and pin the entire season on it. Kessie’s departure might have been a bigger hit, TBH. Despite that, we only had one poor month (January) defensively and Thiaw found space to emerge. Our issues have been, and will continue to be, at the other end of the pitch, where we rely on Leao to do everything.

  3. Yes we have to win this one ..I think we will given that we have are real team out ,and a very strong one at that …I am predicting a win for us of 3 goals to 1
    Olivier Giroud and rafeol leao both to score .
    We can still qualify for the champions leauge next season ,yes it’s going to be difficult..
    I believe if we get through this game without any injuries then i also believe we will win the first leg of the champions leauge against inter .
    It’s AC MILAN FOR ME .

  4. One other thing: Oddly, Saelemaekers has been out of our most in form players of the last three or four game. On the other than, Diaz hasn’t been. Why not start Saelemaekers over Diaz on the right?

    1. Because Pioli believes in Diaz. Just like he does with CDK. Nothing else matters. Not the player’s form and usefulness for the team. It’s ridiculous.

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