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Lazio-Milan Preview: Lowball

I wish I could say ‘When in Rome, do as Roma does,” because they are currently top of the table. But we are playing far from that level, and we will be playing their rivals, Lazio. Milan are coming off of a miraculous win (the miracle being that any Milan fan will want to watch this team again.) But Lazio lost to Atalanta, and find themselves now in sixth place, not looking like the team that started so strong this season. That I understand, both teams underperformed midweek. Whether they continue that streak or were just trying to lowball it going into Sunday’s game remains to be seen.

"Hey! Why did you take the ball away from me?!"

If rumors are to be believed, every time Lazio has won a game, they are Scudetto contenders (just like the media have crowned practically every team in Serie A this season.) But Lazio are owned by Claudio Lotito, so let’s be real: they are never going to win under him. Still, they definitely have a squad worthy of a European spot. And they also are one of two teams to not draw yet this season, with six wins and four losses thus far.

Unfortunately for those brazen reporters and also for Lazio fans, their most recent loss was on Wednesday, a 2-1 loss to Atalanta. They gave up a 1-0 lead with an own goal and then Atalanta scoring near the end of regulation to drop all three points away. (Giving up a lead and conceding late… where have I heard that before?) For that trip to Bergamo, Pioli lined up Marchetti; Hoedt, Basta, Gentiletti, Lulic; Anderson, Biglia, Milinkovic-Savic, Onazi, Candreva; and Matri. Wait… Matri? That name sounds painfully familiar. (Expect at least one goal from him, and probably a celebration, too, even though he’s still ours.) As far as missing players, Pioli will most likely not have Keita, Parolo, Prce, and de Vrij to injuries.

You can put money on the €11m man coming back to haunt us on Sunday

Mihajlovic rightfully accepted the win as a confidence builder, while it’s clear that he was also insulted by the lack of discernable tactics and football in general on Wednesday. So expect him to line up a similar starting eleven, barring Abate, who was subbed off injured on Wednesday. Balotelli is still out indefinitely, and we just learned that Menez has faced a setback in his recovery and definitely won’t be back before January or February. Mihajlovic also mentioned that Niang will be on the bench on Sunday, but played down any talk of playing time, as he is just coming back from injury.

I wouldn’t expect much from Milan in the way of performance. Scratch that, I wouldn’t expect anything in the way of performance. But if the gods of football have not forsaken the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, perhaps they will smile down on Milan and grant us another “confidence-builder” and the three points that go along with that. After all, no one does lowball like Milan these days. That’s got to count for something.

This post inspired by the music of The Bolshoi

Lazio vs. Milan
Sunday, November 1 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)*
*U.S. fans remember Daylight Savings Time ends Sunday morning, set your clocks back
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI and BeIN Sports in the U.S.

Callups for Sunday:

GOALKEEPERS: Abbiati, Donnarumma, Diego Lopez
DEFENDERS: Alex, Antonelli, Calabria, De Sciglio, Rodrigo Ely, Mexes, Romagnoli, Zapata
MIDFIELDERS: Bertolacci, Bonaventura, De Jong, Josè Mauri, Kucka, Montolivo, Poli, Suso
FORWARDS: Bacca, Cerci, Honda, Luiz Adriano, Niang


Milan (4-3-3): Donnarumma; De Sciglio, Alex, Romagnoli, Antonelli; Kucka, Montolivo, Bertolacci; Cerci, Bacca, Bonaventura

Milan Bench: Abbiati, Diego Lopez, Calabria, Zapata, Mexes, Poli, De Jong, Jose Mauri, Suso, Honda, Niang, Luiz Adriano

Lazio (4-2-3-1): Marchetti; Basta, Mauricio, Gentiletti, Lulic; Onanzi, Biglia; Candreva, Milinkovic-Savic, Felipe Anderson; Klose

Lazio Bench: Berisha, Guerrieri, Braafheid, Radu, Hoedt, Konko, Cataldi, Mauri, Morrison, Onanzi, Djordjevic, Kishna, Matri