Both sides are challenging for the Scudetto and a defeat for either could dent their aspirations...Going Level With Milan
With Milan not playing until Saturday evening, Lazio have the chance to go level on points with the Rossoneri tonight at the top of the table in Serie A. Currently stationed in second place with 27 points from 14 matches, Edy Reja's side have recovered from their blip in form earlier last month in which they suffered two successive defeats.
The Aquile are unbeaten in their last four competitive fixtures during which they have qualified for the fifth round of the Coppa Italia. However, the former Italian champions have drawn their last two league encounters 1-1 and need to improve their performance tonight.
Lazio have lost just once at the Stadio Olimpico this season and that was the Rome derby defeat to Roma. Having won four of the other six league matches, the Biancocelesti will be basking in hope and optimism tonight. Indeed, Reja is confident of bagging maximum points against Inter.
"It's an important game considering the table and who we play," said Reja. "Inter come off the back of two good games and they have rediscovered the faith. They are a great team, but we must play the perfect game.
"I hope we have the focus and intelligence, and we need to find the right moment to hit them."
Carrying On With Recovery Process
Inter are not out of their crisis yet but they are gradually inching towards the sun. Having won their last two competitive fixtures, Rafael Benitez's side appear to have staved off the rot and with a berth in the second round of the Champions League already secured, they will try to restore things in Serie A.
At the moment the Italian and European champions are fifth in the league standings with 23 points from 14 matches, seven points behind leaders and cityrivals Milan. Last weekend the Beneamata limped to a 5-2 victory over Parma but it owed more to fortune and the visitors' lack of finishing than to Inter's grace.
Nevertheless, the Nerazzurri will have just one target in their sight and that is to defeat Lazio tonight and close the gap on Milan. Inter's form away from home is modest as they have won three and lost two of the league matches on the road and have scored just six goals in the process.
Mourad Meghni, Alberto Quadri and Javier Garrido are injured and will miss the visit of Inter to Rome. Edy Reja will field Mauro Zarate, Hernanes and Sergio Floccari right from the start in a 4-2-3-1 system.
Benitez will be without the services of Philippe Coutinho, Cristian Chivu, MacDonald Mariga, Julio Cesar, Diego Milito, Maicon, Joel Obi, Walter Samuel, David Suazo and Mancini. Added to this is the fact that striker Samuel Eto'o is suspended.
The Inter tactician will employ a 4-3-2-1 formation that will have Goran Pandev as the lone striker and Wesley Sneijder and Jonathan Biabiany as the two creative midfielders behind him.