Vladimir Petkovic is without several first choice defenders, with Abdoulay Konko, Andre Dias and Bruno Pereirinha injured and Giuseppe Biava suspended, so Alvaro Gonzalez is likely to continue at right back. His place in midfield will be filled by either Stefano Mauri or Honorato Ederson. Lazio have struggled without Miroslav Klose in attack following the German’s long injury layoff, but after appearing from the bench in midweek the forward may return to the starting XI.
With Lazio having knocked Juventus out of the Coppa Italia, and their Champions League dream ended by Bayern Munich, Antonio Conte only has Serie A to play for and can field his strongest side. Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic are the current incumbents of the forward positions.
Lazio will be desperate to recapture the form they showed prior to Klose’s injury, having won just 1 of the 6 league games without him. This run has seen them drop out of the Champions League places, and with Roma and Inter Milan not far behind there is a chance they could fail to qualify for Europe all together. For Conte the league is not yet assured. Having suggested that Italian football needs to adapt to challenge in Europe, it is surely in Juventus’ interest to secure the title as quickly as possible to allow for experimentation towards the end of the campaign… (Read more)
The suspended Antonio Candreva joins the list of Lazio absentees, alongside first choice right back Abdoulay Konko and star striker Miroslav Klose. Vladimir Petkovic probably has two options to replace Candreva – either Stefano Mauri comes in as a direct replacement on the right of midfield, or Alvaro Gonzalez moves wide from a central role and Lazio play two forwards. Given Sergio Floccari’s difficulty in replacing Klose in attack by himself pairing him with Louis Saha may be a good option, but Petkovic has favoured a midfield five this season to accommodate Hernanes, so may go for the conservative option.
Fiorentina may also be considering a tactical switch. Having deployed a 3-5-2 system all season, Vincenzo Montella has used a 4-3-3 variation for the previous two games. The reasons for the change are unclear and the results were mixed – Fiorentina lost the first game but beat Chievo in the second, and in both games Montella made second half substitutes that allowed a move back to a 3-5-2 shape. There is the possibility that he may persist with this tactic, but against as strong an opponent as Lazio, especially one that is currently under-strength, it is more likely that Fiorentina will return to what they know. This is likely to result in Luca Toni dropping out of the forward line and fit again Facundo Roncaglia competing with Nenad Tomovic for the third centre back position.
Both clubs have enjoyed promising seasons, but have also stuttered of late. Lazio have won only once in Serie A in seven games, whereas Fiorentina have lacked consistency since the new year… (Read more)
Third host second in Serie A, with Lazio coming off two straight defeats up against a Napoli side unbeaten so far in 2013. Vladimir Petkovic has to do without top scorer Miroslav Klose, so has to decide between Sergio Floccari and new signing Louis Saha to lead the line. With Lazio playing 4-1-4-1 against Walter Mazzarri’s 3-4-1-2, the midfield zone is largely mirrored, meaning the positioning and movement of either teams’ defensive and attacking players will go a long way to deciding the pattern of the match. The reverse fixture in September was memorable for Klose admitting to handling the ball for a goal that would have put Lazio ahead, before an Edison Cavani hat-trick secured Napoli the victory in a game in which he also missed a penalty… (Read more)