Milan-Lazio Preview: Ingenuity vs. Continuity

Looking at the next eight days for Milan can be incredibly overwhelming, so it is ideal to truly think of one match at a time lest we end up hyperventilating or having a panic attack. While both Lazio and Milan won their first two matches comfortably, the international break, injuries, and COVID make this one less predictable. Milan have home advantage, which now with fans back will hopefully be different than in recent times where they struggled at home. Another interesting factor for this match is that Lazio have a new manager in Sarri, who is known for his ingenuity and style of play, whereas Pioli is known for his consistency and strength in mentality. This will be a big test for both teams, but particularly to watch the battle of ingenuity vs. continuity.

Both experienced coaches, both different strengths.. which will prevail?

Not only do Lazio have a new manager, they reinforced in the mercato with players like Elseid Hysaj from Napoli, Pedro controversially crossing the Roma divide, Toma Bašić from Bordeaux, and bringing back Felipe Anderson. Typically, it takes teams anywhere from months to seasons to learn "Sarriball" or "Sarrismo," as Sarri's tactics are referred to, but Lazio beat the feisty Empoli 3-1 in week one, and then crushed Spezia in week two 6-1. Spezia scored the first goal in that match in the fourth minute, but Immobile missed a penalty and still got a hat trick, and Spezia played on ten men for the last 35 minutes.

For that match, Sarri lined up Reina; Lazzari, Patric, Acerbi, Hysaj; Malinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Luis Alberto; Pedro, Immobile, and Felipe Anderson. Both Immobile and Lazzari had suffered muscle strains over the international break and are thus in doubt to start, but both are reportedly available.

Immobile one of the most consistent scorers for Lazio, and also vs. Milan

Pioli has some fitness choices to make. Giroud received a negative COVID test in time to be available for this match, but having not trained with the team for the international break, Pioli has said he will not play in this match. Ibrahimović recently returned to training and is reportedly fit, but hasn't played yet this season, so likely does not have 90 minutes in his legs, even if he is Ibrahimović.  Rumors have been flying all week about Pioli using Rebić up front, or possibly the young Pellegri, whom we haven't even seen yet. But Milan fans have to be concerned that he will just shove Leāo up there once again. At least Ibrahimović should be available to come off the bench if that happens. Let's hope Pioli surprises us and possibly changes systems to accommodate the players he has.

Kessié has also returned to training and is reportedly fit to start this match. Unfortunately for Pioli, his favorite versatile player, Krunić suffered a muscle injury at the beginning of the break and will not make it for this one. Reports are that it is a lesion, and he will be reexamined in a week's time to assess when he could return. Messias has still been training individually since his transfer to the club, so is also unlikely to feature just yet. There is motivation for Florenzi, born in Rome and being owned by Roma his entire career to want to face off against his lifelong rivals. For Romagnoli, who has always been a Lazio fan, he may be motivated to play to impress the team of his heart, should this season go poorly for him at Milan.

Pioli will also have two important players back

Pioli coached Lazio previously, and despite having brought them to third place in his first season with the club, he recently mentioned in an interview that his term there was filled with the most regrets as a coach. However, Lazio players have said kind things about him this week, a testament to him being a good man and motivator. He obviously has the advantage of continuity going into his third season at Milan, and the mentality of the squad is very strong. But Sarri's signature attacking style is already on display, even if both of the teams he has faced thus far were newly promoted teams. Lazio finished sixth in the league under Simone Inzaghi last season, 11 points behind Milan. But now there's a new manager in town. With both teams beginning their seasons in good form, this match could be determined by ingenuity vs. continuity.

This post inspired by the music of The Primitives' "Crash"

Serie A Week 3
Milan vs. Lazio
Sunday, September 12 • 18:00 CEST 
This match can be streamed LIVE on Paramount+

Milan-Lazio Preview: Ingenuity vs. Continuity Milan-Lazio Preview: Ingenuity vs. Continuity Reviewed by Elaine on 6:13 AM Rating: 5
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