Lazio vs AC Milan predictions: Biancocelesti can step up
There is as much happening off the pitch as on it in Serie A and while the full extent of the current issues remain unknown, for now it gives hope to the chasing pack that a Europa League or top-four finish might not be the limit of their ambitions.
Certainly, the race for Champions League places has been blown wide open and sixth-placed Lazio go into their home game against AC Milan trailing the second-placed visitors by just four points.
Lazio vs AC Milan (Tuesday, 7.45pm)
Lazio defender Mario Gila is unavailable through injury, striker Ciro Immobile is unlikely to feature due to a thigh problem and reserve left-back Mohamed Fares also remains unavailable.
Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan will remain out for several weeks after picking up an injury prior to the World Cup.
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has yet to play this season following ACL surgery and will be joined on the sidelines by left-back Fode Ballo-Toure and right-back Alessandro Florenzi.
Despite sitting in sixth place, Lazio have an impressive record against the rest of the leading pack in Italy, beating Inter 3-1, Roma 1-0, Atalanta 2-0 and losing only one of four meetings with teams now above them – a narrow 2-1 defeat to leaders Napoli.
AC Milan are second in Serie A but the lofty position of the reigning champions is at least in part due to a relatively kind fixture list.
While Stefano Pioli’s side have been strong at home – claiming seven wins from nine and losing only to Napoli in front of their own fans – Milan’s away record is boosted by the fact that seven of their nine away games have come against teams in the bottom eight.
Even then, the Rossoneri have not been among the very best away teams in Serie A. Four other top-flight Italian clubs have won more points on the road and AC have won just four of their nine away games – losing to Torino and drawing 1-1 at Atalanta in their only two trips to top-half opponents.
Milan are priced up as strong favourites for their trip to Rome but it is hard to trust a side who have failed to impress on the road.
The continued absence of outstanding first-choice goalkeeper Maignan has undermined their efforts to retain the Serie A title as much as Ibrahimovic’s injury, leaving Milan looking significantly weaker than in 2021-22.
Adding over one Lazio goal to a Bet Builder looks a solid option given reserve keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu has conceded eight goals in Milan’s last four matches.
Last week’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat to rivals Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana means Milan’s only victory in five matches since the World Cup came in a 2-1 defeat of struggling Salernitana – Pioli’s men are struggling for form and confidence.
Lazio are no world beaters but are solid – compiling the second-best defensive record in the division – and their ability to raise themselves for the big games this season bodes well.