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Written By Onyeka Daniel

At the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio will welcome current League leaders, Inter Milan to the eternal city with referee, Fabio Maresca in charge of Monza’s proceedings for the most exciting game in the Round of 16. They were both in action in the midweek in the UCL and both clubs were already through to the last 16 of Europe’s top club competition before completing their respective campaigns.

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But the Biancocelesti trail league leaders Inter by some distance in the Serie A table. For Maurizio Sarri and his boys, they can now fully focus on gaining grounds and trying to reach their top four target. The home side were forced to settle for second place in their UEFA Champions League (UCL) group, after a 2-0 loss to Atlético Madrid on Wednesday halted a season-best four-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

With European action on break until February, the focus will now be on improving their Serie A fortunes where they were four points behind the top five after 15 rounds and wedged in a pack of four clubs separated by two points. Despite their inconsistency, the Stadio Olimpico has remained detached from their overall struggles, owing to their defensive strengths that helped them win four of their last five league games here.


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They have also managed four clean sheets along the way. They will also take solace from their recent record against Inter at this same stadium in recent matches too. For Inter manager, Simone Inzaghi, he returns to his former club, where he enjoyed a fruitful playing career and then oversaw 197 Serie A matches as manager between 2016 and 2021, with his current team top of the table and the bookies favorite for the Scudetto this season.

He won the Coppa Italia and got to the final of Champions League last term, the Nerazzurri also confirmed their place in the latter competition’s last 16 before the final matchday, putting the full stop on their Group D campaign with Tuesday’s goalless draw against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.

Leading their closest rival Juventus by one point at the Serie A summit – following wins over Scudetto-holders Napoli and struggling Udinese that featured seven goals without reply – Inter have posted more victories combined with a clean sheet (10) than any other club across Europe’s top five leagues in 2023-24. While last season can be termed a success, if they can maintain their level of performance this season, they should have more success still.

Having lost just once in all competitions, and not at all since September, Inter have won 12 of their first 15 Serie A matches for only the fourth time in their long and illustrious history. But their last two visit to the is particular stadium has been disastrous, losing 3-1 each, hence Inzaghi will be looking to put that taboo to rest once and for all now that his team is in a form of their life.

Style Of Play

For Sarri, the 4-3-3 formation is a must and his team always look to dominate possession. They will try to break down the opponent through quick Inter-change of passes with plenty of help from their wing-backs trying to create an overload. For Inter, the 3-5-2 formation is expected and they also rely on their wing-backs for much of their play.

The midfield is where the main battle will be and whoever dominates there will likely win the day and possibly grab all three points. But Inter have been known to win games even when they are not playing well or in possession of the ball, relying on quick turn over of possession and hitting their opponents on a quick counter attack.

Recent Form

Lazio in their last 20 games played across all competitions have 10 wins, 6 losses and 4 draws. They’re winless in their last two games with a draw against Hellas Verona and a loss to Atletico Madrid in the UCL. For Inter, they’ve 14 wins, 1 loss and 5 draws. They’re unbeaten in their last 14 games played in Serie A and Europe and will be looking to make it 15.

Head To Head

In recent matches, it’s been a close contest between the two teams as Inter has 9 wins and 7 wins for Lazio in their last 20 games played against each other with 4 ending in a draw.

Players To Watch

The home side will be looking to their captain Ciro Immobile for goals while the likes of Mattia Zaccagni and Pedro will offer support out wide. For Inter, it will be striking duo, Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram upfront with Hakan Calhanoglu and Nicolo Barella and Henrik Mkhitaryan in the midfield.

Lazio Possible Starting Lineup: Provedel; LazzarS, Casale, Patric, Marusic; Guendouzi, Rovella, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni

Inter Milan Possible Starting Lineup: Sommer; Bisseck, Acerbi, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Thuram, Martinez

Read Also: Davide Massa Under The Spotlight Again After Juventus Were Held By Genoa

Injuries And Suspensions

Lazio will be without G. Isaksen and while the duo of Alessio Romagnoli and Patric should recover for this match, it’s not likely that they will be starting from the beginning. For Inter, they should have Benjamin Pavard available, but he’s also not likely to start. Dutch duo, Stefan De Vrij and Denzel Dumfries will be joined by Juan Cuadrado in the injury list.

Verdict

It’s looking like a match that could likely end in a draw, but if Inter can stay compact and true to their game, they can nick a win (0-0 or 0-2).

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