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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan face a trip to the capital to face Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in a rare Friday night game, hoping to return to winning ways in the league.

Milan were on a great run of form up until the 4-2 defeat against Monza on February 18 which began a run of three games without a win, the others being the Europa League second leg defeat in Rennes and the 1-1 draw against Atalanta on Sunday at San Siro.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Pioli responded to some of the criticism aimed at him regarding the team splitting into a ‘5-0-5’ system while also admitting the Scudetto is now gone.

Game date: Friday, March 1
Kick-off time: 20:45 (CET)
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Referee: Marco Di Bello (VAR: Di Paolo)

Team news

As mentioned, Milan are under some pressure to get another victory after three games without one even if the game against Atalanta was a much-improved performance, especially given La Dea play Bologna this weekend.

Pioli confirmed during his presser that Fikayo Tomori trained with the squad all week and thus he will be called up for the game, which means Tommaso Pobega and Mattia Caldara should be the only absentees.

At present it seems there are two doubts about the line-up that will face Lazio, with the first one being who out of Davide Calabria or Alessandro Florenzi will start on the right side of the defence. At the moment, the former has the edge.

The back four should then be completed by Malick Thiaw, Matteo Gabbia and Theo Hernandez in front of Mike Maignan, but the other doubt is in front of them in the midfield with Yacine Adli and Tijjani Reijnders competing to start alongside Ismael Bennacer.

The attacking trio of Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Rafael Leao are almost certain to get the nod while Olivier Giroud should lead the line given that Luka Jovic still has to serve the second of his two-game ban.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Gabbia, Hernandez; Bennacer, Adli; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents

After finishing second last season, many tipped Lazio to contend for a top four spot again but instead they are languishing nearer to mid-table, above Napoli in ninth only on head-to-head.

Their summer business saw them bring in Matteo Cancellieri from Verona, Diego Gonzalez from Celeya (in Mexico), Valentin Castellanos from NYCFC, Daichi Kamada on a free and Gustav Isaksen from Midjtylland.

However, they lost Milinkovic-Savic to Saudi side Al Hilal which was a big blow and there has arguably been a void in the midfield ever since, even if Nicolo Rovella and Matteo Guendouzi did arrive on loan.

Maurizio Sarri’s men have never been higher than sixth this season. They won just one of their first five games, and then won once from rounds 11 to 16. At present, they are eight points off Bologna in fourth.

The Biancocelesti did get through their Champions League group in second place behind Atletico Madrid, and they got a famous 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last 16 clash. They are also in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

The last five results are pretty symbolic of Lazio’s season, as wins against Cagliari and Torino came in between losses against Atalanta, Bologna and Fiorentina, three damaging defeats in their European push.

In terms of selection news, Sarri has almost everyone available (only Patric and Rovella are out), but there are quite a lot of players who have been battling small knocks over the past few weeks.

Reports suggest a 4-3-3 system with Immobile flanked by Anderson and Zaccagni, with Cataldi anchoring a midfield three that also features Alberto and Guendouzi.

Probable Lazio XI (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari, Gila, Romagnoli, Hysaj; Luis Alberto, Cataldi, Guendouzi; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni.

Head to head

There are only four teams that Milan have played more than Lazio across all competitions, with 189 meetings spanning over 100 years. The Rossoneri’s record reads as follows: 85 wins, 64 draws and 40 defeats.

Milan got the better of the Aquile during the reverse game this season at San Siro, with Christian Pulisic opening the scoring after an hour and Noah Okafor coming off the bench to make sure of the points in the 88th minute.

However, the last time Stefano Pioli’s men played Lazio away it was a massacre. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Matt Zaccagni, Luis Alberto and Felipe Anderson scored as Milan were beaten 4-0 in the middle of their early 2023 crisis.

Match facts and stats…

➤ Lazio have lost their last two matches against Milan in Serie A, without scoring; the Biancocelesti have lost at least three games in a row against the Rossoneri on six previous occasions (the most recent between 2008 and 2009), but never without scoring in three consecutive defeats in the competition.

➤ Lazio and Milan have not drawn any of their last 10 matches in Serie A: three victories for the Biancocelesti and seven for the Rossoneri, who have triumphed in four of the last five matches – the last draw was on 25 November 2018, at the Olimpico (1-1), with the teams led respectively by Simone Inzaghi and Gennaro Gattuso.

➤ Lazio won 4-0 in their last home match against Milan in Serie A (24 January 2023) and have not beaten the Rossoneri in two home games in a row under the guidance of the same manager since the period between 1973 and 1976 – four consecutive successes at the Olimpico with Tommaso Maestrelli as coach.

➤ Lazio have lost three of their last five Serie A games (W2), the same number of defeats they suffered in their previous 14 league games (W8 D3); having lost last time out (1-2 vs Fiorentina), in this campaign Lazio have only suffered two defeats in a row once – in the first two matchdays, against Lecce and Genoa in August.

➤ Milan have failed to win three of their last five Serie A matches (D2 L1), after a series of four straight wins in the league; furthermore, after the draw in the last round (1-1 vs Atalanta), the Rossoneri could draw two matches in a row for the first time since last May – the first of those two draws was at the Olimpico vs. Roma.

➤ Lazio have lost their last three matches against teams in the top three positions at the start of the day in Serie A – including a defeat in the reverse fixture against Milan – conceding on average 2.3 goals per game, after five victories in a row in these matches, in which they had only conceded two goals in total.

➤ Only Inter have gained more points (35) and scored more goals (33) than Milan in matches against teams currently at the top half of the Serie A table – 24 and 23 respectively for the Rossoneri, who drew 1-1 the last of these matches, against Atalanta.

➤ Ciro Immobile – one step away from 250 goal involvements in Serie A, with 200 goals and 49 assists – has been involved in seven goals (five goals, two assists) in the last four matches at the Olimpico against Milan in the league, scoring in each of the last two (3-0 win in 2021, 2-1 loss in 2022).

➤ With an assist on the last matchday, Théo Hernández equaled in 23 appearances the same involvements recorded in the previous campaign in 32 games played (four goals, three assists); in the last five seasons (since 2019-20) he is the only defender in the big-5 European leagues with at least 25 goals scored (26 specifically) and at least 20 assists delivered.

➤ After not having been involved in any goals in his first four away games at the Olimpico in Serie A, Rafael Leão has been involved in three goals (one goal, two assists) in his last four appearances at this stadium between matches against Lazio and Roma, scoring in this campaign (Roma-Milan 1-2, 1 September 2023).

Ones to watch

Giroud has the motivation to try and get his name on the scoresheet at the Olimpico again after he was involved in the controversial penalty call on Sunday, while Leao ended his Serie A drought in that game and put in an excellent performance.

Adli will be called upon to build on his very positive display against Atalanta too, then Gabbia and Thiaw are both hoping to perform well and keep their starting spot with Kalulu and Tomori back knocking on the door.

Immobile is having a bit of a down year by his usual standards with six goals in 22 league games. Felipe Anderson (three goals, six assists) and Luis Alberto (four goals, four assists) have instead led the attack.

In midfield the veteran Cataldi will have an important job protecting the back four, in which former Milan captain Romagnoli will be the bedrock and Lazzari will aim to provide threat going forward.


Picking both teams to score seems like a lay-up at the moment for Milan, and Lazio do have the weapons to make this a tough game. However, it has to be a win for Pioli’s men if they are serious about getting above Juve into second.

Lazio 1-2 Milan


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