Lazio will hope to gain a little bit of breathing room on their rivals for a Champion’s League spot. Napoli’s win last weekend dramatically re-opened the Scudetto race, and both Inter and Roma must still reckon with a Juventus now desperate to protect the thinnest of leads atop the Serie A.
(UPDATE: Inter lost 3-2 to Juventus Saturday playing with 10 men for over 70 minutes, which puts pressure back on Napoli to win this weekend to maintain their chance of winning the Scudetto, while Inter fell further behind Roma after they managed a 4-1 victory with 10 men earlier Saturday morning against Chievo)
Lazio travel to Torino on a 6 game unbeaten streak. The biancocelesti will no doubt be seeking a measure of redemption. When these two teams met earlier in the season the game was marred by a series of dubious calls against Lazio who were denied a clear penalty and had Immobile sent off on the very same play. “We must play to our standards with concentration and desire to win” Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi said – “In these last fours games motivation will make the difference.”
Inzaghi will have to do without the injured Parolo and looks likely to tap Alessandro Murgia to replace the veteran midfielder. “With Parolo out we are missing an important player but there’s always someone missing. He should not have played against Sampdoria but he wanted to play at all costs and he got injured … I’m not sure he’ll be ready for Atalanta.” As for the rest of the midfield Inzaghi feels he has options – “Felipe Anderson and Luis Alberto can play together as can Lulic as an outside midfielder.”
In the back Inzaghi indicated that Radu will likely start but there is uncertainty whether Caceres or Luiz Felipe will start. Lukaku seems to be ready to play but the Lazio coach has said he will wait for gameday to make a decision. Should Lukaku find a place in the starting 11, it may necessitate a formation change from a 3-4-2-1 to a 3-5-1-1 in which Murgia would be left on the bench and Milinkovic-Savic playing a deeper role in the midfield.
Felipe Anderson would be a good choice to factor into the match at some point in the match for Lazio. The pacey Brazilian has shown something of a historical predilection for Torino having scored more goals against them (5 in 8 matches) than any other Serie A side.
The match will also provide something of a family reunion in the Milinkovic family. Sergej’s brother Vanja plays for Torino but will likely be watching from the bench. The Torino goalkeeper has only played a single game for the Granata in the Coppa Italia.
Torino arrives for the match winless in three, two ties and a loss. They will certainly be looking to snap this slide at home in front of their faithful. Mazzari’s squad will be without Ansaldi who is serving a one match ban and the services of Iago Falque are in question. The Spanish winger is still not 100% from an injury but will likely factor into the lineup.
Below are the probable formations:
LAZIO (3-4-2-1): Strakosha; Luiz Felipe, De Vrij, Radu; Marusic, Leiva, Murgia, Lulic; Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto, Immobile.
Substitutes: Vargic, Guerrieri, Basta, Bastos, Wallace, Lukaku, Caceres, Patric, Di Gennaro, Felipe Anderson, Caicedo, Nani.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
TORINO (3-4-1-2): Sirigu; Burdisso, Nkoulou, Moretti; De Silvestri, Rincon, Baselli, Molinaro; Ljajic; Iago Falque, Belotti.
Substitutes: Milinkovic-Savic, Ichazo, Bonifazi, Acquah, Berenguer, Valdifiori, Edera, Niang.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.