Cagliari vs Lazio
Sardegna Arena, Cagliari
Monday, 16-12-2019 @10:45pm
Ref: Fabio Maresca
Despite suffering a setback in their Europa League campaign, Lazio will look to rebound in Serie A as they travel to face Cagliari on Monday evening.
The Aquile have been in stunning form this season and recently handed Juventus their first loss of 2019-20 last weekend as they won 3-1 at the Olimpico. That marked their first victory over the reigning Scudetto champions for the first time since 2003, and it has helped them close the gap on Juve to just three points.
Simone Inzaghi’s men have won their last seven consecutive Serie A games and haven’t lost a domestic fixture since being defeated 1-0 by current League leaders Inter on September 25. Overall, they have not dropped points since posting back-to-back draws with Bologna and Atalanta two months ago.
And whilst they will be disappointed not to have qualified for the Europa League round of 32, Lazio perhaps may have other things in mind this season. If they can keep up their strong form, they just may be able to turn the current battle for the title into a three-way affair this term. It is still early days, but they find themselves within touching distance of the top two sides as the 2019-20 campaign approaches its midway point.
Moreover, unlike Juventus and Inter, who are still involved in the Champions League and Europa League respectively, Lazio will not have other competitions to distract them come February, save for the Coppa Italia, which will thus allow them to keep their squad more rested for crucial clashes.
But until then, they will be focused on picking up as many points as possible. Although they come into this game having beaten Juventus, the visitors will naturally not be underestimating Cagliari. The Sardinians have been arguably the surprise package this season under new coach Rolando Maran and currently sit in fourth, ahead of teams like Napoli and Roma in the battle for a Champions League spot.
However, Cagliari hasn’t beaten Lazio on home turf since February 2011; since then, they have lost four and drawn two of their last six encounters, including losing this same fixture 2-1 last season. In terms of personnel, the Rossoblu will still be missing first-choice goalkeeper Robin Olsen due to a long-term ban, meaning that Rafael will again deputize between the posts for this tricky fixture.
As a coach, Simone Inzaghi has never lost to Cagliari (W4 D2) and he will be loathed to start this Monday.
The Serie A match-day 16 results so far
-Brescia 3-0 Lazio
-Napoli 1-2 Parma
-Genoa 0-1 Sampdoria
-Hellas Verona 3-3 Torino
-Bologna 2-1 Atalanta
-Juventus 3-1 Udinese
-AC Milan 0-0 Sassuolo
-Roma 3-1 SPAL
-Fiorentina 1-1 Inter Milan