Lazio take the unhappy road to Juventus Stadium
Lazio’s away-from-home blues could be set to continue this evening when they travel to Juventus seeking to overcome an unenviable record against the Serie A champions.
Juventus stretched their lead over title rivals Inter to four points last week thanks to a 6-1 rout of Pescara and the shock 3-2 defeat for their closest rivals in Atalanta.
With Inter expected to collect three points at home to struggling Cagliari tomorrow, Juve know they have to seize every possible chance for three points.
“We’ve started the season well and taken a lot of points, but there are still plenty of games to play and we need to hang in there,” said Ghanaian Kwadwo Asamoah.
Lazio may take heart from Inter’s stunning 3-1 defeat of the cham-pions two weeks ago, but the form of Vladimir Petkovic’s side has been inconsistent.
Having suffered a first away defeat to Napoli, in which Edinson Cavani scored a memorable hat-trick in a 3-0 win, Petkovic could only look on helpless as his side were humbled 4-0 by Sicilian side Catania two weeks ago.
That reverse came on the back of a 1-1 home draw to Torino and a 2-0 defeat away to Fiorentina.
In all, Lazio have amassed only nine points from a possible 22 on their travels this season – and the statistics against Juventus do not make good reading.
In a total of 68 matches away to the Old Lady of Turin, Lazio have won only eight times and drawn 17.
In last season’s corresponding fixture at the Juventus Stadium, the Bianconeri prevailed 2-1 thanks to a late free-kick from Alessandro del Piero, a result which allowed the hosts to retain top spot until the end of the season.
On paper, Juve will be hard to beat but a shock defeat would boost both Inter and Napoli ahead of their respective matches.
Napoli welcome a Milan side which is enduring its worst start to the season in living memory.
Napoli, too, have suffered their fare share of away defeats but rolled up their sleeves to secure a gutsy 4-2 win against Genoa last week to move to within a point of Inter.
Both Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani are top of the scoring charts on eight goals apiece and are attracting interest from some of the top clubs in Europe.
El Shaarawy is in rude health, having scored Italy’s only goal in a 2-1 friendly defeat to France on Wednesday, but after 12 games Massimiliano Allegri’s men sit 13th on just 14 points, 17 adrift of Juventus.
Inter, meanwhile, will have to get back on the winning trail if they are to keep pace with Juventus and keep Napoli at bay.
But defender Javier Zanetti believes last week’s defeat will not define their season.
“You have to accept the result, Atalanta played well,” said the Argentinian.
“They scored their second and third goals when we were on top, but that’s part of the game and it won’t alter the path we’re on.”
Cagliari’s last outing was a scoreless draw at home to Catania but on their last travels the Sardinians lost 4-1 to Fiorentina.
The Fiorentina vs Atalanta match, meanwhile, could produce one of the tightest contests this weekend.
Both sides have won their last five fixtures, with the Viola notably accounting for Lazio and Milan and Atalanta claiming remarkable wins over Inter and Lazio.
Juventus Vs Lazio - 18.00
Napoli Vs Milan - 20.45
Tomorrow – 15.00
Bologna Vs Palermo
Catania Vs Chievo
Fiorentina Vs Atalanta
Inter Vs Cagliari
Sampdoria Vs Genoa - 20.45
Siena Vs Pescara
Udinese Vs Parma
Monday – 20.45
Roma Vs Torino
Standings: Juventus 31; Inter 27; Napoli 26; Fiorentina 24; Lazio 22; Atalanta (-2) 18; Roma 17; Catania, Parma 16; Udinese, Cagliari 15; Torino (-1), Milan 14; Palermo, Chievo, Pes-Cara 11; Sampdoria (-1) 10; Genoa 9; Bologna 8; Siena (-6) 7.
Verona Vs Cesena1-1
Today – 15.00
Empoli Vs Grosseto
Lanciano Vs Bari
Livorno Vs Varese
Modena Vs Ascoli
Padova Vs Cittadella
Pro Vercelli Vs Crotone
Reggina Vs Ternana
Spezia Vs Juve Stabia
Vicenza Vs Novara
Tomorrow – 12.30
Brescia Vs Sassuolo
Standings: Sassuolo 34; Verona 32; Livorno 29; Modena (-2), Brescia, Juve Stabia, Cittadella 21; Varese (-1) 20; Padova (-2), Spezia 19; Ternana 16; Ascoli (-1), Empoli (-1) 15; Crotone (-2), Cesena 14; Vicenza, Reggina (-3)13; Bari (-7), Lanciano 12; Pro Vercelli 11; Novara (-4) 10; Grosseto (-6) 7.