Lazio vs Inter Milan preview: Nerazzurri aim to hold out title rivals in crunch clash
Photo Credit(VI-Images/GettyImages)

As the Serie A title race gets more heated with the ups-and-downs of the title challengers involved, two sides determined to end Juventus’ monopoly clash when Lazio host Inter Milan at the weekend. The Biancocelesti are flying high, while Inter regained their top spot after the Bianconeri dropped point last time around.

The two sides facing off at the Italian capital are only separated by a single point. A win for Lazio would see them leap past the visitors and perhaps even into first place if Juve drop points again. But Antonio Conte’s side will be determined to maintain their stronghold at the top with a win which can give a huge boost to their title dreams.

Story Behind The Game

Lazio are unbeaten in Serie A for five months and incidentally lost their last game to Inter in September. Since then, they’ve kept on winning games and have only dropped points twice in the league in their last seven games after the turn of the year.

Inter are also yet to lose a game in Serie A this year but have dropped points thrice, which hasn’t allowed them to create a definitive lead over their rivals.

The games between Lazio and Inter in recent years have been hard-fought battles, but it’s the Nerazzurri who boast the better record. In their last five league meetings, Inter has won three games and the Eagles have only won once, with their last stalemate being played in 2017!

This is a huge game in Lazio’s season as a win is quintessential for Simone Inzaghi’s side to stay alive in the title race. There’s no margin for error, as they must take their chances and seal a win in order to remain in a prime position to battle for the title and dampen their rivals’ momentum.

Inter displayed an admirable never-say-die attitude in sealing the heroic comeback Milan Derby win last weekend, but they must tap into that same energy to defeat Lazio. They’re undefeated at home in the league so far, so it’ll take a colossal effort for Conte’s men to stop the juggernaut and creating a gap at the top by getting all three points.

Team News

Senad Lulic is the only one not available for the game, as he’s still on the treatment table after suffering an ankle injury recently.

Inter also have only one injury issue, as midfielder Roberto Gagliardini is unavailable for the game as he’s still recovering from his injury.

Predicted Lineups

Lazio XI: Strakosha, Acerbi, Felipe, Patric, Lazzari, Lucas, Milinkovic-Savic, Alberto, Jony, Correa, Immobile

Inter XI: Handanovic, Moses, De Vrij, Skriniar, Godin, Young, Brozovic, Vecino, Eriksen, Lukaku, Martinez

Key Clashes

Romelu Lukaku vs Francesco Acerbi

Romelu Lukaku has been fuelling Inter’s fire with his brilliant goal-scoring record this season and has powered them to victories in recent games. Indeed, the Belgian scored in both their last two wins and is flying high on momentum. But Lazio’s senior figure Francesco Acerbi will look to put an end to that.

Acerbi’s been a brick wall in the Biancocelesti’s backline this season, holding out many prolific strikers from threatening them. The experienced Italian will have his hands full dealing with the unpredictable Lukaku and must keep him quiet to boost his side’s chances of winning.

Ciro Immobile vs Stefan De Vrij

A player whose boasted an even better goal-scoring impact than Lukaku has been Lazio’s very own Ciro Immobile, who’s leading the Serie A charts with relative comfort. But with Cristiano Ronaldo catching up alongside Lukaku, he’ll be reinvigorated to get back to scoring ways. Immobile incisive off-the-ball-movement and unpredictable finishing ability make him an absolute menace to deal with.

But Stefan de Vrij is high on confidence after his heroics in the Milan Derby. The Dutch centre-back has proven himself a no-nonsense defender and even kept Immobile quiet in the reverse fixture. Now he’ll want to repeat his heroics by not allowing the Italian an inch to threaten with, as liquidating his threat would hand his side the upper-hand in the game.