Sassuolo v Lazio – Serie A
Sassuolo only have two definite absentees now, with Magnanelli still a big miss, but their injury situation is improving. Gazzola, Antei, Letschert and Mazzitelli are fit to boost options in defence and midfield, while top scorer Defrel is okay to make the squad. He remains a doubtful starter, so Matri may play in a weakening, while there’s some competition in other areas. The form of Di Francesco’s side has dropped off again, with them being without a win in their last four matches, while they’ve also lost each of their last four at home, potentially damaging belief ahead of the clash with Lazio. They don’t have as much to play for as the visitors, with them just trying to finish as high up in mid-table as possible, but they’ll want to pick up a positive result. As they’ve failed to score in six of their last nine at home, they’ll be keen to not fall behind and won’t be too open in their approach, focusing on keeping it tight. A win will be the target though, so they’ll have spells where they take the game to Lazio, also posing a threat on the break when they can. If ahead they’ll consolidate and play on the break, but may struggle to recover if trailing.
Lazio welcome Milinkovic-Savic back into their squad in a positive move and he’ll start in midfield, probably moving Lulic into a forward role and Keita to the bench, which maybe slightly reduces their goal threat. It still isn’t certain that de Vrij will start at the back, but the likelihood is that he will, which would be good news, while Strakosha neutrally covers the injured Marchetti in goal. Inzaghi’s side still have plenty to play for, as they look to cement their position in the Europa League spots, although they aren’t yet out of the race for a top three finish. Securing another important three points will be the objective, with anything less not being enough to satisfy them. The Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma in midweek is a potential distraction, but focus is needed. They really need to win the game, so will be pushing to come out on top and will likely play at a higher tempo than they did when dropping points at Cagliari last time out, taking more risks if needed. They’ll try to get ahead, setting them up to play on the counter, as that’s when they can be most threatening, while they’re unlikely to sit back on a narrow lead, being aware of Sassuolo’s threat.
Verdict & Prediction
Lazio have plenty to play for going into the final stages of the season. They’ll be looking to cement their position in the Europa League spots, but are still chasing down a top three finish and a Champions League place. Picking up another important three points will therefore be the objective. Inzaghi’s side will travel with belief, with them on a good run of form. The dropped points at Cagliari will have disappointed them prior to the international break though, so they’ll be looking to return to winning ways, but the upcoming Coppa Italia tie with Roma is a potential distraction.
Prediction: Lazio -0.50 Asian Handicap (same as Lazio to win)
Odds: 1.77 Pinnacle (1.84 when sent to premium users)