Where We Are
Finishing off Esbjerg on Thursday was perhaps even simpler than anticipated, with Fiorentina earning a 1-1 draw at home without much fuss, and with many key players rested. Defeating Lazio at home would help keep the pressure on Napoli in 3rd and extend our lead on Inter to 7 points after their draw away to Roma.
Vincenzo Montella will make many changes to the team that played Esbjerg midweek. Borja Valero and David Pizarro are both suspended for Lazio's visit, with the Spaniard appealing his four match ban this coming week. The midfield trident in their absent will likely be Massimo Ambrosini, Alberto Aquilani, and Matias Fernandez, while the defense will rearrange a bit as well, with a potential return to a 3 man defensive line of Nenad Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, and Stefan Savic. The South American duo of Juan Manuel Vargas and Juan Cuadrado are expected to be tasked to the wings, while Josip Ilicic or Joaquin will start in support of Alessandro Matri in attack.
Where They Are
Lazio are having a pretty terrible season, summarized neatly with a two-legged meltdown against European minnows FK Ludogorets in the Europa League. Winter appointment Edoardo Reja has struggled to improve the Roman club's form or fortune after taking over from head coach Vladimir Petkovic, with Le Aquile recently losing away to then-bottom club Catania.
All of this said, Lazio remain a dangerous club with talented players that could sting an inattentive Viola. The main threats will be carried by Italian international Antonio Candreva and Mario Gomez's fellow German international, Miroslav Klose. Team captain Stefano Mauri is expected to start for the visitors.
It's a tricky game facing us, but on paper many aspects favor la Viola. This contest won't likely be won in midfield, but the advantage will be heavily with Fiorentina in that zone; both Aquilani and Mati have been in good form recently, and Lazio boast (what I consider) one of the worst midfields in Serie A. Lazio also spent much more and got much less from their Europa League exertions, traveling to Bulgaria and failing to go through in spectacular fashion. An emphatic win (and non-controversial refereeing) are desperately needed, let's hope it's a good weekend for our ragazzi. FORZA VIOLA!
FIORENTINA (3-5-2) Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic; Cuadrado, Ambrosini, Aquilani, Mati Fernandez, Vargas; Ilicic, Matri
Lazio (4-3-3) Berisha; Konko, Biava, Ciani, Radu; Gonzalez, Ledesma, Mauri; Candreva, Klose, Lulic