Lazio v Inter Milan
After winning their opening two games against Empoli and Spezia, Lazio have only gone W2-D2-L3 in all competitions this season. Even a victory in the Rome derby couldn’t sort things out, as their last game before the international break saw them go down 3-0 away at Bologna – with all three strikes coming before Francesco Acerbi’s red card. That leaves them with just a single victory from their past five in the league, conceding an average of two per game over this spell, while they’re yet to keep a clean sheet in any of their seven league games so far this season.
Inter have only suffered the solitary defeat this season as that came in Europe to Real Madrid. Domestically, they’ve won five of seven unbeaten games and have been thrilling to watch, with all but one of their outings featuring at least four goals and the other containing three. They may have only managed a single clean sheet, coming on the opening day hosting Genoa, but have plundered 22 goals down the other end as they’re the league’s top scorers.
Maurizio Sarri and Simone Inzaghi have met seven times as mangers and all but one of these games saw both teams register on the scoreboard, while each of the past six also saw a minimum of three goals. With that in mind, this looks set to be another tasty affair, even if Inter will start as heavy favourites on current form, especially as Ciro Immobile is unlikely to return in time for the hosts.
OVER 2.5 GOALS
AC Milan v Verona
Milan are one of three teams to remain unbeaten this season and survived a late comeback to win 3-2 away at Atalanta before the international break, suggesting they have what it takes to compete for the title this term. Across all competitions, the Rossoneri are W6-D1-L2 this season, as their only dropped points have come away to Juventus domestically in a 1-1 stalemate, as well as narrow defeats to Liverpool and Atletico Madrid in Europe.
After losing their first three games, Verona have found some form as they’re unbeaten across their past four. However, aside from a shock victory over Roma, the other games across their recent run came against current bottom-five outfits Salernitana, Genoa and Spezia. Given Milan have won 10 of their past 12 league games now since the start of May, registering eight clean sheets over this period, the hosts should maintain their momentum.
Stefano Pioli does have some absentees ahead of this clash, though his squad is deep enough to cope. Mike Maignan is set to be replaced in goal by Ciprian Tatarusanu in goal following surgery, while full-backs Theo Hernandez and Alessandro Florenzi are also sidelined, so expect Fode Ballo-Toure to start at left back and one of Davide Calabria or Pierre Kalulu on the opposite flank. Elsewhere, Zlatan Ibrahimovic isn’t quite ready to return yet, Olivier Giroud may only be ft enough for a role from the bench and Junior Messias’ muscle problems continue, so expect Ante Rebic to lead the line with support from the likes of Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers.
AC MILAN TO WIN
Juventus v Roma
Juventus took a while to get going as they failed to win any of their first four league games, but although there’s still plenty of catching up to do, they are looking in a much healthier place now. Across all competitions, Max Allegri’s side have won five of six unbeaten games as the exception came against Milan, with this spell even including a defensive masterclass as they beat last season’s Champions League winners Chelsea in Europe. However, Allegri will need to overcome a relatively poor record taking on Jose Mourinho-led sides, holding a W2-D2-L4 record in such games.
Mourinho is no stranger to a defensive masterclass himself, but his Roma team have actually proven quite an attacking outfit, with only Napoli and Inter outgunning his team this season. Across all competitions, nine of Roma’s 11 games this season have featured at least three goals, while only one of these matches saw fewer than two. They also won nine of these games, though four of those victories did come in the Europa Conference League against the likes of Trabzonspor (twice), CSKA Sofia and Zorya Luhansk.
Mourinho will however be sweating on the fitness of key duo Tammy Abraham and captain Lorenzo Pellegrini. The latter has been in fine form this season with seven goals from 10 appearances but has missed training with an illness, but like Abraham, who suffered a minor ankle injury away with England, is expected to be available for this clash. Meanwhile, Juventus remain without Alvaro Morata, while Paulo Dybala is also a doubt, so Moise Kean could find himself handed another opportunity to stake his claim.
ROMA DOUBLE CHANCE