Both Lazio and Inter Milan are unbeaten after beginning their Serie A 2022/23 campaigns on positive notes respectively. Their unbeaten starts will be on the line as they face off against each other at the Stadio Olimipico in the Italian capital Rome on Friday night.
Both Lazio and Inter are two of the biggest teams in Italy and when they convene in the capital, fireworks are bound to go off. The hosts have taken four points from their first two matches while the visitors have won both their games to record a perfect start to the league campaign.
Lazio are arriving into this clash on the back of a drab and goalless draw against Torino in their second league match of the season. However, they are back on home soil for this all-important third clash where they will also be welcoming a familiar face back to the Eternal City of Rome.
Former boss Simone Inzaghi returns to the country capital as the head coach of Inter. Before Maurizio Sarri’s tenure, he had managed to secure 108 victories off 197 matches in the Italian top flight during his reign at the Stadio Olimpico.
The last time these two sides faced off against each other, spoils were shared. However, Inzaghi’s first visit to the Lazio dugout as an opposition manager ended on deplorable terms as he suffered a defeat against Lazio. However, the Nerazzurri did bounce back and took all three points from the Roman side when they two teams clashed at the San Siro in Milan back in January.
Lazio, of course, began their Serie A 2022/23 campaign with a nerve-wracking win over Bologna. Despite being reduced to 10 men as Luis Maximiano saw his marching orders in the sixth minute, the hosts came back from a goal down to trump Bologna 2-1 thanks to an own goal from Lorenzo Di Silvestre as well as a strike from their talismanic number nine Ciro Immobile in the second half.
Maurizio Sarri will now have the tough task of leading them to successive home victories to begin the Serie A season for the first time since 2015, but it will be easier said than done given that Inter are one of the strongest and most consistent sides in the Italian top flight.
Lazio had finished fifth in the league last season and they had gone a radical transformation in terms of playing style as well approach to personnel with the appointment of former Chelsea, Napoli and Juventus head coach Sarri. They are being labelled as contenders for the top four spots in Serie A and securing Champions League football for next season will be high on the agenda of the Roman club.
Lazio are actually unbeaten in their last three home fixtures when it comes to facing Internazionale in Serie A. They have also won twice during that period and the Biancocelesti will now be gearing up for what could be the biggest challenge for them during the initial stages of the season.
Much like Lazio, Inter too had to dig their claws and fight their way to secure a hard-fought victory in the opening day of the Serie A 2022/23 campaign. However, on their return to home soil, they thumped Spezia by a 3-0 scoreline and the Nerazzurri can now boast of beginning their season in perfect style.
Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez who finished as the top scorer last season resumed his goal-scoring duties in the first half at the San Siro and also got in on the act with his former partner in crime Romelu Lukaku before Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa sealed the fate of the match during the second 45 minnutes. Lukaku and Denzel Dumfries had scored in the opening match of the campaign to secure a thrilling victory for Inter in injury time.
While they got off to a relatively straightforward start to their 2022-23 top flight campaign against not the most fancied opponents, Inter’s might will now be tested on their trip to Rome. The trip to the country capital is expected to truly test Simone Inzaghi’s side’s mettle.
While Inter Milan have won each of their last three fixtures away from home which stretches back to the end of the previous campaign, they are yet to win four consecutive games on the road under Inzaghi. The last such dominant run arrived back when Tottenham Hostpur boss Antonio Conte was the Inter manager, between February and April 2021, and en route to the Scudetto.
Inter Milan will have their sights set on winning the Serie A title once again after their neighbours and city rivals AC Milan deposed them from the throne last season. Milan’s performances on the road compared to Inter last season were pivotal in helping them get their noses ahead of Inter and the latter will be hoping for a better form away from San Siro this season.
After defeating both US Lecce as well as Spezia, Inzaghi’s men have also won 10 of their last 11 games in Serie A. There will be no shortage of confidence when they arrive to the Stadio Olimpico but it will be interesting to see whether they are able to resist the early pressure and sustain their winning momentum in the Italian top flight. It will be essential for them to get a positive result if they wish to close the gap to their Milan rivals this weekend.
LAZ vs INT, Serie A 2022/23
Date: 27th August, 2022
Time: 12:15 AM IST
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Lazio Serie A form:
Lazio form (all competitions):
Inter Milan Serie A form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
Lazio wins: 17
Inter Milan wins: 21
Lazio Team News:
Just six minutes into his debut, new Lazio goalkeeper Luis Maximiano saw a red card and was sent off from the pitch. As a result, he served a one-match ban and is back in contention for the clash with Inter on Friday. He will be competing with fellow summer signing Ivan Provedel to get himself reinstated into the starting XI.
Head coach Maurizio Sarri will also have to take a call on whether former Inter player Matias Vecino should start in midfield or he should simply just revert to Toma Basic or Luis Alberto in the starting XI. Both the latter players were restricted to bench roles in the previous fixture.
Midfield general Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will undoubtedly start against his favourite opponents in Serie A. Milinkovic-Savic has scored five goals in his last seven games against the visitors. On the other hand, Francesco Acerbi’s future at the club remains doubtful and he has been strongly linked with Inter, of all teams, and a move could end up taking place before deadline day next week.
Inter Milan Team News:
While new signing Raoul Bellanova is doubtful for this clash after suffering an ankle injury, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the only player who has been definitely sidelined and will not feature in any capacity at the Stadio Olimpico.
If Bellanova does end up missing the fixture, Matteo Darmian and Denzel Dumfries will be involved in a tussle for a place on the right flank of Inzaghi’s familiar 3-5-2 formation.
Former Lazio footballer Joaquin Correa will meet some of his old teammates in Rome but he is expected to start on the bench. The duo of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have picked up their chemistry from where it was left off and will lead the line upfront for the Nerazzurri.
Lazio possible starting lineup:
Provodel; Lazzarri, Romagnoli, Patric, Marusic; Vecino, Cataldi, Milinkovic-Savic; Pedro, Immobile, Zaccagni
Inter Milan possible starting lineup:
Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Calhanoglu, Brozovic, Barella, Dimarco; Martinez, Lukaku
The duo of Lukaku and Lautaro is looking sharp and hitting the right chords once again for Inter. Their partnership in attack as well as Inter’s dominant start to the season may help the side end their barren run of matches away to Lazio going into Friday. Building momentum with a strong run of wins will also be on the priority list for Inzaghi.
The tactical tussles between the Nerazzurri head coach and Europa League winner Maurizio Sarri make for fascinating duels. However, Inzaghi has more resources and depth on the bench and therefore, it won’t be surprising to see Inter make the trip back to Milan with all three points in their bag.