While the capital club return to Stadio Olimpico following a Champions League defeat in Rotterdam, La Viola bounced back from losing at home to Empoli by strolling to victory in the Europa Conference League.
Although they remain in the mix to qualify for the Champions League’s knockout phase, after an ill-tempered encounter at De Kuip left Lazio with four points from three Group E games there is plenty of work still remaining.
Maurizio Sarri’s men put on an insipid display against Dutch champions Feyenoord on Wednesday night and only had Pedro’s late spot-kick consolation to show for their efforts in a 3-1 defeat.
As the Biancocelesti had previously produced dramatic stoppage-time strikes to clinch a point against Atletico Madrid and then see off Celtic in Glasgow, they can still dream of making the last 16, but before next month’s reverse fixture with Feyenoord they must aim to find some consistency in Serie A.
After a sluggish start to their league campaign, which brought just one win from six games, last week’s 2-0 win at Sassuolo took Lazio into the top half of the table, but they still trail behind in the top-four race.
Last year’s second-place finish was built on a series of clean sheets, but Sarri’s side have conceded over a goal per game in Serie A this season despite fielding a similar back four in front of goalkeeper Ivan Provedel.
While Lazio remain vulnerable on the road, they have recently won both of their two most recent league fixtures at Stadio Olimpico – as many home wins as in the previous six. Having also come out on top in six of their last eight meetings with Fiorentina, they may feel confident of continuing in that vein on Monday.
Such has been Fiorentina’s inferiority to their hosts in recent years, they have won none of their last seven Serie A matches against Lazio in Rome, losing on five occasions.
However, they arrive in the capital this time with a four-point lead over the Biancocelesti, and Vincenzo Italiano’s men have marked themselves out as top-four contenders with a bright start to the 2023-24 campaign. In fact, Fiorentina have won eight of their last 13 league matches stretching back to the end of last season.
Although defeat to Tuscan rivals Empoli in last week’s Derby dell’Arno ended the Viola’s run of scoring in five consecutive league fixtures – during which they had averaged 2.4 goals per game – they produced an immediate response by hammering Cukaricki in the Europa Conference League a few days later.
Having been beaten 2-0 at home by an Empoli side that had lost seven of their first eight league matches – and also drawn both of their opening two Group F games 2-2 – Italiano demanded better from his troops on Thursday evening.
Against opponents reduced to 10 men before the interval, Fiorentina ran riot, with summer signing Lucas Beltran helping himself to a confidence-boosting brace in a 6-0 win at Stadio Franchi.
Next month’s reverse fixture in Serbia comes amid a tough schedule between now and the end of November, as after tackling Lazio, the Viola must host Juventus and visit Milan at San Siro – a run of games that could define whether last season’s Conference League finalists are truly a force to be reckoned with.
Lazio Serie A form:
Lazio form (all competitions):
Fiorentina Serie A form:
Fiorentina form (all competitions):
We say: Lazio 2-1 Fiorentina
Home advantage could make all the difference in this contest between two well-matched sides, as Lazio generally thrive on Roman soil while Fiorentina tend to wither. The Viola should score at least once at the Olimpico, given their hosts’ defensive woes, but that may not prove enough for a point.