Milan-Lazio Preview: Going the Distance

Milan had their worst start to the season in 70 years. One of those initial losses occurred at the Stadio Olimpico in October. But then Milan found some form and have been producing some results fairly consistently, mainly by playing one great half of football. But now it is March, and 45 minutes of great football isn’t enough anymore. If we truly want third place or better, we have to play 90 minutes every match. We can’t keep relying on luck and our opponents dropping points, we need to take the initiative and make our own fate. It’s time for Milan to be going the distance.

Will we see Pazzini again in this matchup?

Milan must take advantage of both playing at home, and as terrible as it sounds, Lazio’s misfortunes. Without Klose, Lazio have largely struggled in the league. But a win on Monday against Pescara will have seen their confidence get a little boost, as well as making it through in the Europa League. Add to that the fact that we are both fighting for third place, with Lazio currently sitting 2 points ahead of us in the coveted Champions League spot, and the pressure is on. Plus, Lazio are  Allegri’s kryptonite - he has yet to win against the club in the league during his time at Milan. So it actually becomes a very important game to win.

In addition to Klose being out long term, Lazio are also missing Konko, Brocchi, Stankevicius, and possibly Floccari and Mauri to injuries, as well as Ciani to suspension. Hernanes also hasn’t been the same since his head recent head injury, but I expect him to return to form soon. (Hopefully not tomorrow!) Some of those missing players will definitely hurt Lazio, but they will not be above stealing the result from us even without them.

Floccari, with a late injury, is doubtful for tomorrow

Petkovic had a few more players at his disposal on Monday for Pescara. He lined up Marchetti; Dias, Radu, Cana, Konko; Hernanes, Gonzalez, Lulic, Ledesma, Candreva; Floccari. So his squad will be a little stretched if Floccari and Mauri both are in fact unavailable. But they are tough, and Marchetti has been in good form, so we will do well to pull of the result.

Milan have a few injuries of our own. We will be without Mexes due to suspension. In addition to the long term injuries of De Jong and Vila, the following are all in doubt: Robinho, Bonera, Flamini, Pazzini, Montolivo, Constant, Balotelli, and El Shaarawy. I believe that Pazzini and Constant are likely to return. Balotelli has an injury he picked up during his collision with Handanovic on Sunday and is still highly doubtful. El Shaarawy was running a fever yesterday, so is also in doubt. Montolivo has a slight knock and didn’t train with the team yesterday, so also possibly out. However, most of these injuries are minor, so don’t be surprised if you see one or more of them in the starting lineup.

Will we see either or both of these players tomorrow?

In defense, there is a slight chance that Salamon could debut, as Allegri had him play with Zapata in training the other day. If Constant doesn’t return, expect Abate and De Sciglio as fullbacks. The midfield is much harder to predict. If we are without Montolivo, I suppose Ambrosini gets the start. But the other two spots are up for grabs, I suppose. We could see our Triple Threat™ up front, but if not, expect to see Pazzini and/or  Boateng to fill in.

Whomever Allegri lines up, one thing is certain: we need to have more than 45 minutes of good football this time around. It will take all of the work and focus of the squad for the entire 90 minutes to break Allegri’s league curse with Lazio. But if we want third place, this is a crucial game to get it. Lazio may have had a dip in form sine losing Klose, but they are down… not out. If we take this valuable three points from them, we will leapfrog them and take third place from them, which is highly important at this point in the season. It won’t be easy, but it is not impossible, either. Milan just need to be going the distance.

This post inspired by the music of Cake’s “The Distance”

Milan vs. Lazio
Saturday, March 2 • 20:45 CET (2:45 EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on BeIn Sport and RAI in the U.S.
(check comments for streams just before game time)

Milan-Lazio Preview: Going the Distance Milan-Lazio Preview: Going the Distance Reviewed by Elaine on 3:34 AM Rating: 5
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