Juventus - Lazio Preview: Bianconeri looking to stay top of Serie A as they host Champions League hopefuls
The Turin giants entertain the Champions League-chasing side as both teams look to stay ahead of their respective challengers in domestic league action
By Adam Scime
Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini
L'steiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie
Konko, Diakite, Biava, Radu
Gonzalez, Mauri, Candreva
Juventus coach Antonio Conte once again has a full squad available with no injuries or suspensions, so his only worry will come in the form of which players to select in his starting line-up.
Having looked secure in defence recently, Juve are likely to stick with three at the back as full-backs Stephan Lichtsteiner and Paolo De Ceglie join the trio of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio in midfield.
Meanwhile, Fabio Quagliarella, having scored in their last two matches, should get a start upfront, while Alessandro Matri impressed as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Palermo by setting up their second goal and could replace Mirko Vucinic.
Lazio took a big step towards Champions League qualification by defeating rivals Napoli 3-1 on Saturday but will once again be missing first-choice players in prolific striker Miroslav Klose, midfielder Senad Lulic and centre-back Andre Dias due to injury.
After recent poor performances, Brazilian midfielder Hernanes, who has eight goals in Serie A this season, could drop to the bench in favour of Alvaro Gonzalez with veteran Stefano Mauri moving into a more central attacking role behind lone forward Tommaso Rocchi.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Juventus won the first match between these two sides this season by a score of 1-0 back in November with a strike from Simone Pepe.
- The Bianconeri, and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, have kept five clean sheets in a row in Serie A.
- Conte's men remain unbeaten in league play and also boast the best defence, having conceded just 17 times.
- Lazio have not won in their last 14 attempts against Juventus in Serie A and have lost their last three league matches against the Bianconeri.
- Lazio have not won away from the Stadio Olimpico since defeating Chievo on January 29.
- Midfielder Cristian Ledesma is the player who has featured most for Lazio this season, making 31 appearances.
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Top 3 Predictions
Juventus 2-0 Lazio
- 36.86 %
Juventus 3-0 Lazio
- 16.62 %
Juventus 2-1 Lazio
- 7.65 %
|Serie A (SR-A)||31 Aug 2013||Juventus 4 - Lazio 1|
|Italy Super Cup (ITSC)||18 Aug 2013||Juventus 4 - Lazio 0|
|Serie A (SR-A)||15 Apr 2013||Lazio 0 - Juventus 2|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||29 Jan 2013||Lazio 2 - Juventus 1|
|Italy - Coppa Italia (ITAC)||22 Jan 2013||Juventus 1 - Lazio 1|
|6 Dec 2013||Bologna 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|1 Dec 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||SR-A|
|27 Nov 2013||Juventus 3 - Copenhagen 1||UCL|
|24 Nov 2013||Livorno 0 - Juventus 2||SR-A|
|10 Nov 2013||Juventus 3 - Napoli 0||SR-A|
|11||Paolo De Ceglie||Defender|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|
Despite struggling for a large portion of the campaign, the former Bari defender has come into his own over the last month or so and been a rock alongside Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini in a three-man defence. With the season winding down, he must continue his positive form to gain a spot with the Azzurri at Euro 2012.
The veteran midfielder is also looking for a place on the national team this summer and certainly boosted his chances with an outrageous overhead kick-goal against Napoli at the weekend. The playmaking responsibilities will be on his shoulders on Wednesday – can he be the one who ends the Bianconeri’s string of clean sheets?
Juventus will have the benefit of already knowing AC Milan’s result from Tuesday night against Chievo and thus be aware of what they must do to stay atop the league standings – Lazio will be no pushovers as they continue to chase third, but the advantage remains with the in-form Bianconeri, who are aiming for a fifth straight victory.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed