Serie A Week 3 – Friday 26 August 2022 – San Olimpico | Preview by Tlalane Phahla – Follow her on Twitter
The Stadio Olimpico plays hosts on Friday evening when Lazio lock horns with Inter. Its also another homecoming for Simone Inzaghi who managed Lazio for five seasons and while last season, Maurizio Sarri got the better of Inzaghi condemning Inter to a 3-1 defeat, this time around the Nerazzurri are travelling on the back of two straight victories, with confidence sky high.
Lazio on the other hand were held to a goalless draw by Torino last weekend, but remain unbeaten so far in Serie A. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will be looking to continue his impressive scoring run against the visitors. They are his favourite opponents in Serie A, scoring five goals, all in his seven most recent matches against them.
Ahead of this game, Sarri has been speaking to the press, stating that Inter are among his favourites for the title and that it won’t be an easy game. He also could not stop singing Inzaghi praises, saying he had an important cycle at Lazio during his time there:
Inter are perhaps the strongest team in the league, both technically and physically. They have great absolute values, they are among the favourites to win the championship. It’s not easy to face them, playing a high level of defence depends on the whole team, not just the back line. I hope the team can confirm itself. Inter’s height is not only a problem for us, but for all teams. They combine physicality in the box with players who can take free-kicks. A move by Inzaghi? The only one I can think of as a possible surprise is Gagliardini in Milinkovic’s area.”
Expected XI (4-3-3): Provodel; Lazzari, Patric, Luciani, Marusic; Vecino, Cataldi, Milinkovic-Savic; Anderson, Immobile, Zaccagni
- Lazio are unbeaten in their last three home games against Inter in Serie A (W2, D1), after losing previous three. The Biancocelesti have conceded in each of their last six home games against the Nerazzurri (12 in total) and could concede in seven in a row for the first time between October 1948 and February 1960 (12 games, 21 goals conceded).
- Lazio won their first home league game this season, against Bologna; they could win their first two Serie A games in a single season for the first time since 2015/16.
- Simone Inzaghi has managed the most matches with Lazio in the three points for a win era in Serie A (since 1994/95): 197. He is also the only manager to have exceeded 100 wins with them (108); in this period, only Dino Zoff (2.1) and Sven-Goran Eriksson (1.9) have a better average points per game than Inzaghi with Lazio (1.8).
There is nothing that Inzaghi would love more than three points against his former employers, but to also keep the momentum going after both Milan and Juventus dropped points. Although its still too early to be thinking about the scudetto, it helps to start the season well. Inter’s boss needs no introduction on his former team, he knows their quality and what they can do, and he told the media that they will have to be careful as they are up against a strong team in-front of the home support:
Certainly we know that we are facing a strong team that this year has improved in terms of personnel, has kept all the strongest players and we know that we will have to show character. We will face a prepared team, in an important stadium with a lot of fans, we will have to play a careful game. Immobile? I have a great affection for Ciro, he has had important seasons with me, he did it again last year with Sarri, I know it’s a special match for everyone, we all care about it, I wish him to always score but let him rest against us.”
Expected XI (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Calhanoglu, Brozovic, Barella, Gosens; Martinez, Lukaku
- After two goals vs. Lecce and three vs. Spezia, Inter could score more than once in each of their first three league games in two Serie A campaigns in a row for the first time in their history.
- Inter have won their last three away league games but have never won four in a row under Simone Inzaghi; the last time the Nerazzurri won four away league games in a row was under Antonio Conte between February and April 2021 (five).
- Joachim Correa has scored four of his 32 Serie A goals in August (13%): among players who have scored at least the same number of goals in the competition. Only Stevan Jovetic (15%: 6/41) has netted a higher percentage in this month.
Lazio have a full contingent while Inzaghi confirmed they are trying to get everyone back, but will be without the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan once again.