Serie A: Juventus vs. Lazio (31.08.2013 – 19:45 GMT)
Italian champions Juventus welcome capital club Lazio to the Juventus Stadium this Saturday in an exciting Serie A fixture. The sides met earlier this month in the Italian Super Cup, where the Old Lady of Turin easily overturned Lazio 4-0, in a game that saw a debut goal from Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez. Lazio will be hoping to make more of a contest of this game, whereas Conte’s men will be looking to maintain their flawless start to the new season.
This fixture is the second between the sides this season, with Juventus running out comfortable winners less than two weeks ago. The Turin side came into the Super Cup fixture facing criticism from the Italian press, due to a less than convincing pre-season. I Bianconeri did not really get into the swing of things, and were even beaten 3-1 by LA Galaxy. Any worries that Juventus could under perform were quickly blown away by the emphatic nature of their performance. Boss Antonio Conte brushed aside any criticisms afforded to his men, and claims he knew his players would step up. He told RAI Sport
“In the Press conference yesterday I said I was relaxed because I know my players and above all what they are like as men,”
The former midfielder continued,
“I knew we’d face this one-off match in the right way. It is one game; there is no tomorrow and you have to do it today. We continue to write history, these players put in a great performance and it was a deserved victory.”
Lazio may have been licking their wounds from their heavy defeat to Juventus, but they followed this up with a 2-1 victory over Udinese in the opening Serie A fixture of the season. Manager Vladimir Petkovic feels that the criticism directed towards his side after the Super Cup defeat was over the top and that he retained confidence for the forthcoming season,
“At times I get the feeling some are just waiting for us to fail so they can bring negativity into the atmosphere. We could and should have done better against Juventus, but the team is calm and has not lost confidence.”
“Now the Serie A season begins and it’s a new chapter. We want to qualify for the Champions League, then go as far as possible in the Coppa Italia and Europa League.”
The super cup fixture was marred by racist chanting from the Lazio fans. A warning was announced over the stadium loudspeakers, that play could be stopped if the chanting continued, but this did not come to fruition.
Both sides will be keen to maintain their 100% start to the season. Lazio will be forced to play without injured defender Abdoulay Konko, who is sidelined with muscular problems. Lorik Cana is fit and available to play after limping off against Udinese. Juventus are without influential midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
Possible Starting XI
- Juventus are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 matches against Lazio in all competitions.
- Lazio have failed to score in 6 of their last 8 away games.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 7 of Juventus’ last 8 games in Serie A.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 5 of Lazio’s last 6 games in Serie A.
I think that Lazio will be keen to put right their poor performance of two weeks ago, and we will see a much improved side. Juventus, however, appear much stronger across all areas, and although it will be hard fought, I feel that the champions will secure a narrow victory.