Milan-Lazio Preview: In the Crosshairs

Milan sit in sixth place on the table, so aren’t exactly soaring over eighth place Lazio. But Lazio played in the Europa League on Thursday, and Sparta Prague made the Eagles extinct at the Stadio Olimpico with a score of 3-0 (4-1 on agg.) And Europa League is where Lazio had seen better form this season than in the league. But sometimes a loss like that is a motivator, and with all of the media-created drama surrounding Milan, it’s hard to know which team comes into this one with the advantage. Especially with Tagliavento assigned to ref this one. Milan have not gotten the results they wanted lately, but Lazio’s big loss could put them in our crosshairs.

"The San Siro?! But I have nothing to wear! I must meet the Prince! Where is my fairy godmother?"

Something Milan have in common is that both clubs are owned by men with political aspirations. Only I think more Lazio fans want Lotito out than Milan fans want Berlusconi out. Funny how winning lots of trophies vs. not so much will do that for fans. But there are more things in common, one of them being the infamous Alessandro Matri. The Milan youth product set the standard for Milan fans by being one of Galliani’s absolute worst transfers ever, and is currently on loan at Lazio, having four goals and an assist in the League for them in 17 appearances this season. But while he couldn’t seem to score for Milan, rest assured he’ll find a way to score at the San Siro Sunday night.

Lazio come into the match with a recent record of W-D-L-D-W, with their most recent win a 2-0 victory over Atalanta at the Olimpico. For that match, Pioli lined up Marchetti; Hoedt, Patric, Braafheid, Mauricio; Mauri, Anderson, Onazi, Cataldi, Kishna, and Klose. He seems to have rested some players who played in the crushing loss to Sparta Prague, including Candreva, Biglia, Parolo, Keita, Konko, Lulic, and Bisevac. However, Konko was apparently injured Thursday and is in doubt for Sunday’s match. He joins a crippling injury list of De Vrij, Radu, Basta, Kishna, Djordjevic, and Milinkovic-Savic. Those who played on Thursday will certainly be tired, but Pioli will be desperate to pick up points from a team above Lazio on the table. And when Lazio play well, they play very well, so it will depend on which Lazio shows up.

That was sweet, but daddy needs to keep his job, so Sunday his loyalties are 100% Milan

Milan and Lazio also share something else in common, a man named Sinisa Mihajlovic. He was a hero for Lazio during his playing career, and returns to the sideline for Milan after his one match ban for sweet talking the ref just in time to be the villain for Lazio fans. Well that is what Milan fans hope, anyway. While it was sweet to see Mihajlovic with his son, a ball boy for Lazio at the Olimpico, our miraculous 3-1 victory over them there in November only served to give me a taste for Eagle blood. Especially with ex-Roma’s Mexes just waltzing on and scoring with his first touch instead of trying to strangle Lazio’s captain. But Eagles cannot be hunted by just anyone, it will take Milan’s best efforts.

Milan could potentially see the return of Montolivo to the midfield, as he returned to full training on Thursday. But we will still miss Niang, Kucka, and Ely to injury, despite the latter starting to train with the group again this week. Donnarumma is likely to miss, as his week went from bad to worse after picking up a head injury on Sunday and now he has the flu. Alex also trained separately from the group this week, but as of this writing should be available. The question is will all of the players show up to play? After a loss away to Sassuolo and a draw away to Chievo, will the fans at the San Siro boost them to victory? Or will they, like the media, criticize and turn their backs on the team they claim to love?

Impressive, Mexes, but my favorite is still Pazzini's eagle celebration at the Olimpico

This match is important for both teams, not only for the three points which are up for grabs, but also for the mentality of the teams and fans. Lazio have to be gutted by their loss on Thursday in the Europa League, and Milan are under all kinds of pressure to perform and prove the media wrong. Who wins the matchup of Mihajlovic vs. Matri? I mean on the pitch, we all know Mihajlovic could take Matri out using only his pinky in an actual fight. But if Milan can put up some actual fight, then maybe Mihajlovic will triumph on the pitch, too. Certainly Lazio could be in our crosshairs.

This post inspired by the music of Front 242’s “Headhunter”

Milan vs. Lazio
Sunday, March 20 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
This match will be shown LIVE on RAI in the U.S.

*Time difference due to U.S. Daylight Savings Time

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Milan-Lazio Preview: In the Crosshairs Milan-Lazio Preview: In the Crosshairs Reviewed by Elaine on 11:02 PM Rating: 5
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