Italian football returns from its hiatus following the conclusion of the first international break of the season, and fans will be treated to a blockbuster from the off. Juventus will face Lazio in a clash of titans at the Allianz Stadium in Turin looking for their third win of the season. The home side have started the season very strongly and are yet to lose a game after the first three rounds of matches. Lazio, on the other hand, have lost two of their three league matches so far.
Juventus have started the season excellently after a couple of below-par seasons. They will be looking for their first home win of the season when Lazio pay them a visit at their stadium. The Roman club, on the other hand, will be keen to build on an impressive win against the champions in their last game before the international break.
After a hugely disappointing season, Juventus set out to get their priorities back in order and return to challenging for the Serie A title. Lazio had a very good season as they finished second behind Napoli to qualify for this season’s UEFA Champions League.
Lazio began the season with losses to Lecce and newly-promoted Genoa before a masterful performance against Napoli saw them put their first points on the board. Juventus, on the other hand, thrashed Udinese by three unreplied goals in their season opener before being held by Bologna. They returned to winning ways in their match against Empoli, their last before the international break.
Juventus have the upper hand over Lazio on the basis of their recent meetings, with the Bianconeri winning three of their last five meetings and losing just once. They have also won nine of their 12 matches against Lazio in Turin since 2011, a hugely impressive figure. Lazio won their last meeting by two goals to one at the Stadio Olimpico, but Juventus will be keen to restore the status quo in their encounter on Saturday.
For all of their recent succcess on the pitch at the start of this season, Juventus are in the middle of a number of messy situations off the pitch. Mercurial midfielder Paul Pogba, who is unavailable to feature for them through injury, tested positive for testosterone after a test following the Udinese match. The Frenchman has admitted to unknowingly ingesting the substance and has received a provisional ban. The club is contemplating terminating his contract if a guilty verdict is delivered, as he may be banned for up to four years. Also, former captain Leonardo Bonucci has revealed that he is suing the club for treating him poorly. The veteran defender was left in limbo while still under contract as manager Massimiliano Allegri revealed that he did not intend to count on him this season. The defender has since joined German side Union Berlin as he looks to play out the last season of his professional career.
Failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League meant that Juventus were unable to participate very actively in the summer transfer window. They only signed Timothy Weah and youngster Facundo Gonzalez on permanent deals despite losing experienced stars Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Bonucci.
Lazio were quite active in the summer market as they looked to build a strong squad ahead of their return to the UEFA Champions League. They signed Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada for free and Matteo Guendouzi on loan. They also signed youngsters Nicolo Rovella, Luca Pellegrini and Gustav Isaksen, as well as forward Taty Castellanos. They lost influential midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic this summer after years of speculation, as he completed a move to Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Hilal.
Luis Alberto and Kamada were on the scoresheet for Lazio as they defeated Napoli, and manager Maurizio Sarri will be hopeful that his team can repeat the trick against his former club in Turin. Juventus have adopted a front two of Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa, and Allegri will hope that the issues developing off the pitch do not affect his team in the game against Lazio.
With the Champions League coming up, Lazio manager Maurizio Sarri will hope that his side find their rhythm quickly and maintain their level. They face Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in midweek, and the manager will have one eye on that tie. A win in Turin, against all odds, could prove to be very important for Lazio this season.
HOW TO WATCH
The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Golazo Network and live streamed on Paramount+ so subscribers can watch all the action. For those who want the full matchday experience, you can buy Juventus vs Lazio tickets on Seatsnet.com. But fans need to be quick as the game is expected to be a sell out.
Juventus Serie A form: W D W
Lazio Serie A form: L L W
Juventus welcomed goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny back to full fitness during the international break, and the Polish goalkeeper should be available to start between the sticks for the Bianconeri. Italian defender Mattia De Sciglio will not play any part of the encounter as he remains ruled out through injury. Defender Federico Gatti is also available for selection after an earlier injury.
Chiesa is a doubt for the clash, having pulled out of the Italy squad for the last round of internationals. The Italian forward may be available to feature in the match after having enough time to recover from his niggle. Pogba has been banned, and will not be a part of the Juventus squad for the foreseeable future.
Juventus Possible XI: Szczesny, Danilo, Bremer, Gatti, Cambiaso, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic, Chiesa, Vlahovic.
Lazio have a near-full strength squad to pick from, with Pedro expected to be fit enough to make the trip to Turin. French midfielder Guendouzi will also be pushing to make his first start for the club, but is expected to start from the bench.
Lazio Possible XI: Provedel, Hysaj, Romagnoli, Casale, Marusic, Kamada, Cataldi, Luis Alberto, Anderson, Immobile, Zacccagni.
Our Prediction: Juventus 2-1 Lazio
Coming into the clash, Juventus are in a better run of form than their opponents, and will be able to take advantage of this in their match. They have a great record at home against Lazio and will make it their tenth win over I Biancocelesti in Turin since 2011. Their overall record against Lazio is also in their favour, as they have inflicted 85 defeats on the Roman side, the most by any team in the club’s history.