Juventus host Lazio at the Allianz Stadium on Monday evening as the fourth hosts fifth in the table. Maurizio Sarri takes his Biancocelesti team to his former club knowing that a result is needed in their search for Europa League football. The Old Lady already have one eye one next season having won no silverware in this campaign.
The Bianconeri have had a very strong calendar year in the league and have already secured a top-four finish with two games to spare. However, having lost the Coppa Italia final last week to Inter Milan, it’s now back-to-back defeats and four losses in their last ten in all competitions. In Europe, they lost 3-0 at home to Villarreal and a Serie A home defeat to Inter came soon after.
Max Allegri’s side bounced back well with four wins in their next five, including beating Fiorentina 2-0 in the Coppa Italia semi-final and putting up successive 2-1 wins in the league. However, their last Seria A match saw a 2-1 loss at a Genoa side who sit in the drop zone and had won just three times all season before beating Juventus.
Juventus Team News
Juventus are without Weston McKennie in midfield due to injury. Mattia De Sciglio returns from suspension and could start at right-back after Danilo went off injured against Inter. Departing defender Giorgio Chiellini is expected to start as part of his farewell to the club. Paulo Dybala has confirmed he is leaving and maybe benched considering his contract being close to an end.
For Allegri, it’s a question of what shape he uses. Dusan Vlahovic will lead the line and Alvaro Morata should be recalled. Moise Kean could also play with the latter duo as wide forwards in a 4-3-3. Manuel Locatelli is back from injury and should start in midfield alongside Denis Zakaria.
Juventus can’t finish higher or lower than the fourth spot. Their loss at Genoa may indicate a lack of motivation and focus, especially with the futures of half a dozen players now up in the air.
They will play to win this match and give their home support a strong finish to the season but the edge may not be in their play. Their tactical approach will be clearer when the XI is announced; whether it’s a pragmatic 4-4-2 or an attacking 4-3-3 shape.
Sarri’s side can’t finish in the top four but they are yet to seal Europa League qualification or a top-five finish, with three teams still able to catch them. Lazio had a very poor February, being thrashed in the Coppa Italia (4-0 at AC Milan), crashing out of the Europa League to Porto, and dropping key points in the league.
With four wins in the next five in Serie A, excluding a 3-0 Rome derby humiliation against Roma, they bounced back to good effect. However, a 1-1 home draw with Torino and then a 2-1 home defeat to AC Milan put paid to their top-four ambitions. They have managed to win their last two, a 4-3 win at Spezia and a 2-0 home victory against Sampdoria.
Lazio Team News
The big issue for Lazio is the fitness of 27-goal striker Ciro Immobile. He is carrying an ankle injury and is a major doubt to be fit to play this match. If he misses out, then the mobile Jovane Cabral could play as a striker with Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson on either side.
The rest of the side picks itself. Danilo Cataldi should be tasked with being the side’s “regista” in a 4-3-3 in preference to veteran Lucas Leiva. Elseid Hysaj could be recalled at right-back as a favourite of coach Sarri.
Lazio can’t afford any more slip-ups or a fifth-place finish could turn into an eighth-place final spot and that would change the narrative of their season completely.
Sarri will be desperate to beat his former club but he has a really bad record against them, losing six of his last nine against Juve. His side won’t change the approach whatsoever for this one and will try to dominate possession and use the coach’s trusted patterns of play.
Allegri has 10 wins in 11 matches against Lazio as Juventus manager
Juventus have won 12 of their last 15 matches against Lazio (all comps)
Juventus have lost 2 of their last 22 Serie A matches
Juve has lost once in 11 home Serie A matches (W7)
Lazio’s Sarri has lost 6 of his last 9 matches vs Juventus
Lazio have won 3 of their last 4 away Serie A matches, either scoring/conceding 3 goals in each
Lazio have seen Both Teams to Score in 5 of their last 6 in Serie A
This should be a good match. Juventus technically have nothing but pride and their fans to play for. Lazio are trying to achieve a top-five finish and a Europa League place and have Sarri facing his former club. The hosts should still have too much for Lazio, especially if Immobile is absent for the visitors.
Best Bet: Juventus to win at 2.30
Alternative Bet: Juventus win and Vlahovic to score anytime at 3.50
Multiple Option: Draw/Juventus double chance + over 1.5 goals at 1.74
Correct Score Tip: Juventus 2-1 Lazio at 9.00