Lazio vs Inter Preview And Predictions
Inter Milan finished just two points behind the Serie A champions, AC Milan, last season. After their opening two matches this campaign, they are intent on reclaiming the title they lost out on last season.
The Nerazzurri did not have to look too far in the transfer market for the missing piece. One of the core components of their title-winning machine was lacking, and they knew exactly what it was. Romelu Lukaku finished the 2020/21 season as Inter’s top scorer and highest assist provider. However, last season, he felt like a fish out of water in Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea team, scoring just eight league goals. It was a no-brainer to secure his services immediately after he became available on loan.
The Belgian scored within two minutes of his league return against Lecce and assisted his old strike partner, Lautaro Martinez against Spezia in the second game.
On Friday night, Simone Inzaghi will be back in Rome, where his coaching career began. The former Lazio forward secured 108 wins from 197 Serie A matches during his time at the Stadio Olimpico.
Maurizio Sarri’s men are unbeaten in their opening two matches. They will back themselves to get a positive result at home against this opponent.
In 39 meetings between these Italian giants, Lazio have won 13 games to Inter’s 16. Both teams have played out 10 draws.
Last season, neither team could get an advantage over the other. Lazio defeated Inzaghi’s men 3-1 at home, and Inter secured maximum points in a 2-1 win at San Siro.
Lazio had an indifferent pre-season, winning their opening three matches before succumbing to a 4-1 loss to Genoa. They drew goalless in their final two matches against the Qatar National team and Real Valladolid.
The Biancocelesti kicked off their Serie A campaign with a 2-1 win against Torino. In a dramatic encounter that produced two red cards, the hosts had to come from a goal down to seal the points. However, they struggled to break down a resilient Bologna side, managing just two shots on targets (W-L-D-L-W-D).
In five pre-season friendlies, Inter managed just one win. However, they have begun their league season on a solid note. It took a last-gasp goal from Denzel Dumfries to defeat Lecce 2-1 after Lukaku had opened the scoring. They cruised to a 3-0 victory against Spezia last weekend, with Martinez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa all getting on the scoresheet (D-L-D-L-W-W)
Pedro is set to miss out following an ankle injury. Patryk Dziczek is also a long-term absentee with a heart condition.
Predicted XI: Ivan Provedel, Manuel Lazzari, Patric, Alessio Romagnoli, Adam Marusic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Danilo Cataldi, Matias Vecino, Felipe Anderson, Ciro Immobile, Mattia Zaccagni (4-3-3).
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Hamstring), Danilo D’Ambrosio (Muscle), and Dalbert (Knee) are all expected to miss Friday’s clash.
Predicted XI: Samir Handanovic, Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni, Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Federico Dimarco, Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez (3-5-2).
Maurizio Sarri and Inzaghi are firm disciples of the modern positional play. It is therefore fair to expect that both teams will look to control possession while trying to seize dangerous spaces in order to hurt each other.
Alessio Romagnoli and Patric will have to be at their physical and aggressive best in taming Lukaku, who loves to play with his back to the goal. If Inter’s match against Spezia showed anything, it is that if the forward is allowed to win his duels, he has not forgotten how to combine with Martinez with some one-touch passing.
The Argentine, at the same time, will continue to lurk around, taking up positions vacated by his partner to find the target.
Marusic and Lazarri will also be wary of the late movements of Inter’s wingbacks, Dumfries and Dimarco. Brozovic has the technical and tactical qualities to find both forwards from deep. Cataldi will be required to monitor the Croatian in an attempt to close down his passes.
Sarri’s X factor could be Milinkovic-Savic. The midfielder has the job of finding the unique movements of Immobile in between Inter’s back three. The Serbian is also adept at scoring from outside the box, and against a side he has scored five times in his last seven matches, he will fancy his chances.
Lazio are unbeaten at home in their last three matches against Inter in Serie A.
Inter have not lost in 29 of their last 32 matches in the league.
Lazio have not won their first two home matches since the 2015/16 season.
Lazio have conceded in each of their last six home matches against Inter.
Both teams to score @1.55
Over 2.5 goals @1.65
Over 1.5 goals @1.22