Serie A: Juventus v Lazio - match preview, predicted starting line-ups & Opta facts

21 January at 17:00
League leaders Juventus come off a dismal loss to Fiorentina last weekend as they host Simone Inzaghi’s fourth placed Lazio. Max Allegri will require a revitalized squad following an overall lacklustre performance and disappointing loss in Tuscany last weekend. On the other side Inzaghi is coming off a 4-2 Coppa Italia victory over Genoa on Wednesday. Pressure lies on Scudetto holders Juve in a key contest where Lazio will be motivated to take advantage of an unbalanced Bianconeri lineup. 
Allegri will change his formation with the return of Lichtsteiner, moving back to the 4-3-1-2, with some whispers of a 4-3-2-1. He will hope this is the change needed following what was an uninspired and unsuccessful exhibition against Fiorentina just a week ago. Newly acquired Tomas Rincon will fill in for the suspended Stefano Sturaro. Sturaro’s poor passing ability and inability to advance the ball forward from the defence has ultimately overcome his tenacious defensive ability, and the Venezuelan has a great chance to win over the Bianconeri faithful on Sunday with a strong showing.

Either Chiellini or Asamoah will replace the suspended Alex Sandro, with Allegri having to choose between a defensive or attacking line up. In attack, the deadly Paulo Dybala will either play alongside Pjanic or Higuain, depending on which shape Allegri prefers. 
Lazio will either use a variation of a 3-4-3 or stick with the 4-3-3 shape Inzaghi used in the Coppa Italia game midweek. Inzaghi will have at least five players to come back into the side and leading scorer Ciro Immobile, who added a goal midweek off the bench, will once again lead the line. The duo of Felipe Anderson and Lombardi should deputise as link between Immobile and the hardworking and intelligent holding midfield pair of Parolo and Biglia. These midfielders form the rock around which Lazio is built, and will likely be flanked by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic on the left side. The Biancoceleste can hope to wreak some havoc in a Juve midfield that has been bereft of creativity of late. 

Lazio have not managed to take any points from Juventus in their last eight meetings but their surprising consistency at this point in the season, shows they have the guile needed to produce a result. Having won five out of their last six, this game comes at a great time for Inzaghi. 
Both Allegri and Marotta will face media attention beyond the normal should Juventus drop more points this weekend, especially considering their home winning streak. The Juve squad move through this month with a huge weight on their shoulders, as this weekend's clash is followed by the Coppa Italia quarter-final against AC Milan and the return league game against Inter in two weeks’ time. The unveiling of the new logo could not have come at a better time to sway attention away from the performance in Florence. Should another mishap occur this weekend against Lazio, Juventus players will have nowhere to hide. 
Probable Starting Line-ups:
Juventus 4-3-2-1
Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Asamoah; Khedira, Marchisio, Rincon; Dybala, Pjanic; Higuain
Lazio 4-3-3
Marchetti; Patric, De Vrij, Wallace, Radu; Parolo, Biglia, Milinkovic; Lombardi, Immobile, F. Anderson 

David Baleno @davidbaleno
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