Match Preview Serie A

Lazio v Juventus Serie A Match Preview

August 26, 2016 - 12:32 pm


Lazio v Juventus

Serie A Week 2 –  Saturday, 27th August – 17:00 GMT – Stadio Olimpico



The Fiorentina game was definitely not a complete performance by Juventus, but there were plenty of positives. In the first half, the squad showed midseason form, dominating the game and outplaying the opponent. The intensity level waned in the second half as energies inevitably faded. Conceding at the first real chance, something that often happened in the preseason as well, was not a good look. Anyway, with a little more precision, the team could have put the game away early and this is the one element that it will need to stress early in the season as it is not in peak condition yet.

Good indications came from the midfield, which I reckon is the biggest concern for the fans, who are waiting for a big acquisition. Despite playing very little in the friendlies, Sami Khedira was splendid, but we already knew that – The hope is that his season will not be as injury-laden as the last one. Kwadwo Asamoah is healthy and spry and looked like his Udinese version: a powerhouse who can do damage on offense as well. Mario Lemina held down the fort in lieu of Miralem Pjanic and, as long as Stefano Sturaro and Claudio Marchisio remain sidelined by knee injuries, he has solidified his role as the top backup in two positions. Other good signals came from Dani Alves, who was a force on the right, and of course Gonzalo Higuain, who basically scored right away and solved the game in a difficult juncture where it could go either way.

As for the Lazio bout, unfortunately Leonardo Bonucci will miss the game because of personal reasons and hopefully everything will go well: his son underwent surgery for an undisclosed serious pathology earlier this summer. The coach said that either Daniele Rugani or Medhi Benatia will start: the Italian youngster makes a little more sense because of his characteristics, but it would not shock me to see Benatia on the pitch, with Andrea Barzagli sliding over to a more central position.

Pjanic has recuperated from his hip-pointer and will battle it out with Lemina to start in the heart of the midfield, with Khedira and Asamoah completing the department. In his presser, Allegri suggested that the Bosnian ace is not completely up to speed yet. Higuain will start on the bench as he is working his way back to top form: he has been deadly in the past against Lazio, scoring 12 goals in nine matches. I do wonder if Allegri has decided to slowly ease the two prized purchase into the XI rather than just giving them the job: it worked wonders with Dybala, but Higuain and Pjanic are not as green as Paulo was when he joined.

Alex Sandro had an OK game, but his defensive sequence that led to the equalizer was frankly horrible: first he whiffed on a long-ball that freed up a crosser and then he appeared to lose track of Nikola Kalinic on the corner kick. I can see Allegri picking Patrice Evra over him in this one. On the other flank, it is hard to bench Dani Alves, and really there is no reason to be overdefensive and field Stephan Lichtsteiner and Evra at the same time. Surely the Swiss right back would not be happy for missing two games in a row, which arrive amid extension talks and the possible return of Juan Cuadrado, which could further diminish his role. His possible departure is something to keep an eye on.

Simone Zaza is in England to negotiate his proposed move to West Ham, while Luca Marrone is reportedly in Belgium to talk with Zulte Weregem.

Probable lineup: 

3-5-2: Buffon; Barzagli, Rugani, Chiellini; Alves, Khedira, Pjanic, Asamoah, Evra; Mandzukic, Dybala. 


Marchisio (knee), Sturaro (knee), Mandragora (foot). [Also out: Bonucci, Zaza, Marrone]





Atalanta-Lazio was simply nuts, just like the summer of Biancocelesti. At first, it looked like they had locked up Cesare Prandelli, then they veered to Marcelo Bielsa because it was a much sexier idea, but their pursuit went south just as it seemed they had ironed out every detail and even announced him. The lawsuit will tell what really happened between the two partys. In the end, they settled with Simone Inzaghi, who did not do a poor job last season and deserved to come back. Inevitably, their transfer market strategies were slowed down but they still got Ciro Immobile for relatively cheap and some new defenders, which they needed. Some acquisitions are rather exotic so we will need some more time to judge them.

In the previous game, Lazio didn’t do much in the first half, except scoring three goals on killer counter-attacks, exploiting Gian Piero Gasperini’s offensive mentality and Atalanta’s poor defence. The home team came back, with a big assist from Federico Marchetti, who helped Franck Kessie score a brace with a couple of blunders. Lazio sealed the game with Danilo Cataldi and the late goal by Andrea Petagna did not re-open it.

There were some mixed indications from that game: even with half of their good players out, Lazio is explosive on the counters and Ciro Immobile is perfect for that. Their defence is shaky and that shows, especially if the usually reliable Marchetti has a poor game: they need their reinforcements to pan out.

They will have considerable help back for the Juventus clash: Felipe Anderson has returned after winning the gold medal in the Olympics and Senad Lulic and Stefan Radu have recovered from muscular injuries. Also their new centre-backs Wallace and Bastos have had one more week of practice to acclimate themselves.

Their only absentee could be Balde Keita, whom they are at loggerheads with. The winger wanted to be sold this summer or at least get a new contract as he feels he is underpaid. Claudio Lotito, as you would imagine, put a hefty price tag on him and did not proceed with the extension. Last week, Keita stopped practicing because of knee soreness and the club issued a statement essentially accusing him of faking the injury, while the player said that the doctors told him to rest for few days. A bizarre situation that will take some time to be solved.

4-3-3 is their base scheme for the season and the return of Felipe Anderson and Lulic bolster a ragtag wingers’ corps, where the youngster Cristiano Lombardi, fresh off that a great of a season in the third league with Ancona, started, and of course scored, against Atalanta. Both are expected to feature from the start, especially because Ricardo Kishna has been pretty underwhelming.

The alternative would be a three-man defence, which Simone Inzaghi has heavily rehearsed during the week. It would not the 3-5-2 shown in the later stage of the previous game, but rather a 3-4-3, with Lulic playing left winger but with heavy defensive tasks. Bastos, who had already played five official games with Rostov before coming over, has a solid chance to start, either as right centre-back replacing Wesley Hoedt or on the left of the defensive line if Radu is not ready. Compared to the last game, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would start on the bench to make room for the three defenders. This option is gaining steam: it is also possible that Lulic starts as left wing back, with Kishna back in the lineup and Jordan Lukaku on the bench.

Probable lineup: 

3-4-3: Marchetti; Bastos, De Vrij, Radu; Basta, Parolo, Biglia, Lukaku; Anderson, Immobile, Lulic.


Berisha, Keita (knee). Also out: Morrison.





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  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino August 27, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Well fuck, this game starts at 6PM! I wont be able to watch it.. Man I hate it when we dont play at 20h45, as usual..

    • Avatar
      ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Sorry my friend. Finish work at 16pm. I hate the games at 15pm.

      So i read that Rugani wont play.
      Thats unfair.

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino August 27, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        Yeah I cant watch those games either, sucks. Is Benatia confirmed then? I’m not surprised, I suspected Benatia to play as soon as I read Bonucci wont play

  • Avatar
    Dybala August 27, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Can someone tell me why Jaime Vardy is still wearing a cast everytime he plays?

    Whats up with that?

  • Avatar
    DutchJuventus August 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Immobile is at Lazio? Didn’t know that.

    • Avatar
      BelgianJuventino August 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      He only joined them recently

  • Avatar
    BelgianJuventino August 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    He is our player now and the more experienced choice, I guess that is why he is picked today

    • Avatar
      ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Yeah but…Rugani needs to get playtime.
      Are you watching the game?

      • Avatar
        BelgianJuventino August 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        I know :/ no I cant, keeping an eye on liveblog. Are we playing well?

        • Avatar
          ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 4:51 pm

          Not really…

  • Avatar
    ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Pjanic would make it

    • Avatar
      Dar Black August 27, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Why is he not playing? He can’t be injured as he is in subs list. What puzzle is Max trying to figure out by playing with the three mids who lack that extra creativity to make something happen?

      I don’t understand what we are doing leaving the best creative midfielder in the league on the bench.

      • Avatar
        ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        mate, i dont know

  • Avatar
    LMJuveDK August 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    The joy of 3-5-2. We are playing like shit.

    • Avatar
      ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Yes. Pure waste of time

      • Avatar
        LMJuveDK August 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm

        Dybala and Alves is fighting and playing well. Our midfield is absent. And we are not working as a unit today.

        • Avatar
          ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 5:15 pm

          yes mate, thats it.

    • Avatar
      DutchJuventus August 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Lazio is defending pretty good

  • Avatar
    ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Alves is terrible

    • Avatar
      LMJuveDK August 27, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Why do you think that? I actually think he is playing well today. Or maybe he is just less crappy than the other players.

      • Avatar
        ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm

        he tries to dribble there and there and nothing happens,he acts like a diva. his freekick was terrible,come on my friend.

        • Avatar
          LMJuveDK August 27, 2016 at 5:16 pm

          I was wondering why he had to take freekicks. He suck at it. And yes he is a huge diva, but being from Barcelona its in his DNA 🙂

          • Avatar
            ho Hi August 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm

            yes of course the barca dna i forgot that. well see…….

  • Avatar
    DutchJuventus August 27, 2016 at 5:34 pm


  • Avatar
    B1anconer0 August 27, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Man what a boring game. AllegrI should abandon this 3-5-2 and start playing with 3 upfront. I think higuain is more suited to a formation with 3 upfront. This 3-5-2 also appears to be not fluent enough at times.

    • Avatar
      DutchJuventus August 27, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Many of our Serie A games are like this. But we win them all.