After a stuttering September saw them fall out of contention at the top of the table, Lazio will look to end October with two wins from their remaining games, starting with the visit of Fiorentina on Wednesday.
The pair are separated by one point in seventh and eighth, with both sides targeting a place in the European spots come the end of the season
Maurizio Sarri’s reign as Lazio manager could not have got off to much of a better start, with his new Serie A outfit winning both of their opening matches, whilst netting nine goals in the process.
Now nine games in, Lazio have managed just 10 goals in their following seven league games, leaving the Eagles languishing down in eighth.
A league winner with Juventus during his last job in Italian management, optimism was high surrounding Sarri’s appointment, with the 62-year-old coach brought in to replace former player-turned-manager Simone Inzaghi.
Holding hopes of a return to the Champions League, the Lazio faithful have already witnessed the inconsistencies often attributed to Sarri sides.
A run of three games without a win followed their demolition of Spezia on the second matchday of the season, and the side from Italy’s capital have only managed a further two victories in their last six Serie A encounters.
There have undoubtedly been some high points for Sarri in his first three months at the club, not least their win over Jose Mourinho’s Roma in last month’s Derby della Capitale.
Yet, there have been the poor results to match, with last weekend’s humiliating 4-1 loss to Hellas Verona Sarri’s fourth defeat as Lazio manager across all competitions.
Similarly, their form in the Europa League has not yet shown any tell-tale signs of consistency, as the Eagles have drawn, lost and won in their three group stage games so far.
It is three years since Lazio last made it out of a European group, yet should they have any hopes of returning to the continental stage next season, arresting their current inconsistencies will be crucial.
There is enough to suggest that they will be able to return to winning ways against Fiorentina, as they are unbeaten in their previous nine meetings with the Viola, scoring two or more goals on five of those occasions.
In fact, Fiorentina have not kept a clean sheet against Lazio in their past 16 encounters, meaning they are going to have to extend the record of scoring in all but one of their Serie A matches this season.
One man who enjoys himself in front of goal is of course Dusan Vlahovic, with the Fiorentina marksman already on seven goals for the season in all competitions.
Vlahovic is looking to extend his current scoring streak of two matches against Lazio, having netted against the Italian giant in both of last season’s matches.
After drawing a blank on his last visit to the Stadio Olimpico during Fiorentina’s 3-1 defeat to Roma on opening day, the Serbian will be keen to leave the capital with another goal or two to his name.
Lazio Serie A form:
Lazio form (all competitions):
Fiorentina Serie A form:
We say: Lazio 1-1 Fiorentina
It is fair to say Lazio were never going to be title contenders this season, yet the Eagles supporters would have hoped for their side to have been more competitive than they currently are.
Fiorentina are no pushovers and will look to capitalise on the misfortunes of Lazio, starting with their meeting against each other on Wednesday.