Lazio are forced to make a change in midfield, as reliable performer Parolo is suspended and will be replaced by the returning Cataldi in a slight weakening. Marchetti is okay to start in goal after being forced off last weekend, while Bastos may be drafted into the back line to add strength. Keita will return in attack, boosting their goal threat. Inzaghi’s side gave a hint of their strong character by immediately bouncing back from the disappointing defeat in the Rome derby to win away at Sampdoria last weekend and they’ll be looking for another victory against one of their rivals for a European place. A win would give them a significant lead over Fiorentina, while a draw wouldn’t actually be too bad, as they’re already five points ahead. Their main strengths lie in their forward play and they’re capable of taking the game to the visitors and also of playing on the counter. Taking the lead sets them up nicely to operate on the break, when they’ll look to extend their lead, but they won’t be completely comfortable if one ahead. Given the lack of a reaction when they fell behind to Roma, it’s important they don’t fall behind.
Fiorentina rotated the team for the rearranged game against Genoa on Thursday night, with Ilicic and Kalinic rested from the start, but both will return to give them more of an attacking threat here. A couple of changes are forced on Paulo Sousa, with Salcedo and Badelj suspended, so Tomovic starts and being without Borja Valero again is a big blow in midfield. Having failed to secure a third successive Serie A victory for the first time in over a year in midweek, as they lost at Genoa, they need to react to get their European qualification hopes back on track. They can’t afford to lose any more ground on Lazio and others and could really do with a win, although like for the hosts, a draw would be far better than a defeat against their positional rival. They like to get on the ball and control, with their ability to do so likely to be key, while if they get ahead, they’re capable of making the most of any extra space. They’ll need to take risks if behind, with a loss a really bad result, which they can’t afford, but they aren’t suited to chasing games. Given the attacking quality of both sides, it could easily open up and have goals at both ends.
Verdict & Prediction
Lazio showed their character last weekend at Sampdoria, as they bounced back from defeat in the Roma derby to get back to winning ways immediately. They’ll be targeting another three points and at home they’ll believe they are capable of achieving the desired result. They currently hold a five point lead over Fiorentina, which could prove crucial in the race for European qualification, so if they’re able to stretch that it could prove significant. They’ll want to win, but a draw against one of their positional rivals wouldn’t be a disaster.
Prediction: Lazio -0.50 AH (same as Lazio to win match)
Odds: 1.98 Pinnacle