AC Milan have won just one of their first five games in 2023 and will thus be looking to bounce back on Tuesday evening, taking on Lazio away from home. It will be a tough game for Stefano Pioli’s men, who are under some pressure.
The collapse against Roma was the start of a very poor run of form for the Rossoneri, who were dominated in the Supercoppa Italiana final against Inter (losing 3-0). As said, they are now on a four-game winless run and desperately need to bounce back.
Pioli made it very clear during his presser earlier today that he’s aware of the issues, having identified exactly what went wrong in these four games. Still, tomorrow’s game will indeed be a battle.
Mike Maignan, Alessandro Florenzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are still on the injury list and the recovery times are different for each of them. The first two could return first, but they won’t be available tomorrow nevertheless.
On the other hand, Rade Krunic has recovered from his injury and will be at Pioli’s disposal. It’s good news for the manager, who has used the Bosnian a lot during his time at Milan amid the midfielder’s versatility.
Unfortunately, Theo Hernandez has been ruled out for the clash due to a muscular injury. This most likely means that Sergino Dest will get the chance on the left-hand side, just like he did off the bench against Inter.
Besides that, the XI will be similar to the one we saw last time out although Pioli is expected to make a few more changes. For starters, Pierre Kalulu is set to start again after getting benched in the Supercoppa final, following what was a poor display against Lecce.
Furthermore, Alexis Saelemaekers is set to replace Junior Messias on the right-hand side of the attack. Some rumours have suggested that Pioli could switch to a 4-3-3 formation, but he more or less shut this down during the press conference.
In spite of the above, Divock Origi or Ante Rebic might get the chance from start. Olivier Giroud is keen on breaking his personal deadlock in 2023 and it remains to be seen who Pioli will decide to start up front. Regardless, he has a strong squad to rely on and there are no team excuses for not getting the three points.
Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kalulu, Tomori, Dest; Bennacer, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Giroud (Rebic).
Lazio have started the season well as Maurizio Sarri seemingly has managed to implement his style of play more. In fact, the Biancocelesti currently sit in 6th place with 34 points, which is just three points from third place.
In shirt, just like Milan, Sarri’s men will have a lot to play for tomorrow evening. There is one big absence that the manager has to deal with, though, and it’s that of Ciro Immobile. The striker has seven goals and three assists in the league this season, which says a lot about his importance.
The veteran Pedro is thus expected to start in the centre-forward role, acting as a false nine with Felipe Anderson and Mattia Zaccagni on either side. Other than that, it’s the XI you would expect and there is a familiar face in Alessio Romagnoli, who was Milan’s captain last season.
If you want to stay more up-to-date with everything Lazio-related ahead of the game tomorrow, make sure to check out our friends at The Laziali for just that.
Probable Lazio XI (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari, Casale, Romagnoli, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Luis Alberto; Felipe Anderson, Pedro, Zaccagni.
Head to head
Lazio away has been a tough clash for Milan over the years but as of late, the Rossoneri have been rather successful at the Olimpico. In fact, they have won two of their last three games against the Biancocelesti.
The last encounter between the two sides ended 2-1 in favour of Milan, thanks to a very late goal by Sandro Tonali. It was a crucial one in the Scudetto race and many Rossoneri fans remember it fondly.
Lazio opened the scoring in the first half but Milan managed to equalise early in the second half through Olivier Giroud. Zlatan Ibrahimovic then helped set up Tonali for the goal in the 92nd minute.
➤ Lazio are the team against which Milan have drawn the most games in Serie A (59/158 matches, along with 69 Rossoneri and 30 Biancocelesti wins). However, there has been only one draw in the last 10 matches between Lazio and Milan in Serie A: 1-1 on 25 November 2018, to go with three Biancocelesti and six Rossoneri wins.
➤ After two wins last season, Milan could achieve three consecutive wins against Lazio in Serie A for the first time since the period between 2008 and 2009.
➤ Milan have won two of their last three away matches against Lazio in the league (L1), as many as in the previous 10 (four draws and four defeats).
➤ Lazio have kept clean sheets in 10 of 18 matches this season (fewer only than Juventus, 12) – in the entirety of the last Serie A campaign, the Biancocelesti recorded nine clean sheets in 38 games.
➤ After a 2-2 draw against Empoli in their last match at the Olimpico, Lazio could draw two home games in a row in Serie A for the first time since January 2022 (the first in this run was also against Empoli).
➤ Milan drew 2-2 in both of their last two league games (against Roma and Lecce): the last time the Rossoneri recorded three consecutive draws in Serie A was back in September 2018, under Gennaro Gattuso.
➤ Only Inter (13) have scored more than Lazio and Milan (both 12) in the first 30 minutes of games in Serie A this season; the Biancocelesti are also the only team that have not yet conceded a goal in the first half hour of play.
➤ Since his arrival in the capital (2016/17), with Ciro Immobile on the pitch, Lazio have won 56% of their matches in Serie A, with an average of 1.9 points per game – without him the Biancocelesti’s win percentage in the league drops to 33%, along with an average of 1.3 points.
➤ Both Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson have scored in their last two league matches: the Italian has never found the net in three straight games in Serie A, while the Brazilian last did so between December 2014 and January 2015.
➤ Rafael Leão was directly involved in a goal in both matches against Lazio last season (a goal at the Meazza on 12 September 2021 and an assist at the Olimpico on 24 April). Overall, the Portuguese has been involved in 21 goals in his last 23 Serie A matches (11 goals and 10 assists).
Ones to watch
It will be very interesting to see Milan’s backline and especially Kalulu, who was benched against Inter because of a very poor display against Lecce. The youngster needs to redeem himself and also take some of the load off Tomori.
In addition to Kalulu, Giroud is eager to break his deadlock and if he starts, then it will be a must-score game for him just like it is a must-win game for Milan. We all know the qualities he has and what he can do, but he needs to show it.
As for Lazio, Romagnoli will be able to show his former club why they should have renewed him. Now, the centre-back is a Lazio fan and thus it all worked out it the end, but there is no doubt that he will want to do well.
Pedro will also play a key role in the absence of Immobile, but it’s difficult to predict how he will get on. Milan have two fast centre-backs and that should limit his impact, seeing as he isn’t that strong aerially.
Milan desperately need the win, not just for their confidence but also for the standings, and a big push will be needed tomorrow evening. It’s difficult to predict the outcome but we have to believe that the Rossoneri can turn it around at the Olimpico.
Lazio 0-1 Milan