Following their chastening Coppa Italia defeat in midweek, Lazio look to bounce back in Serie A on Saturday, as they meet Bologna at Stadio Olimpico.
The visitors’ form has dipped in recent weeks, and they have won only one of their last eight league games after a draw with Empoli last time out, while the hosts had edged up into sixth in the standings before their cup loss to Milan.
All seemed rosy in the Lazio camp after a fine 3-0 win at Fiorentina last Saturday saw the capital club extend their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions.
However, the Biancocelesti – whose first two goals in Florence were scored by star duo Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile – were quickly brought back down to earth by Milan on Wednesday night, as they crashed to a 4-0 defeat at San Siro.
Three goals down before the half-time whistle, Maurizio Sarri’s men saw an improving defensive record – having just kept a clean sheet in three consecutive Serie A matches for the first time in seven years – torn apart at the hands of the rampant Rossoneri.
Though Lazio still occupy the Europa League qualifying spot in Serie A, their previously stellar home form has begun to slip too, and after previously posting four successive league victories at Stadio Olimpico, the Aquile have won just one of their last five in Rome.
Ahead of Bologna’s visit to the capital, though, Lazio have lost only one of their last 20 home matches against the Emilian outfit, scoring 39 goals in the process.
So, after suffering a humbling defeat against one of their former managers in midweek, Sarri and company will expect to fare better when they welcome a Lazio legend back to Roman soil on Saturday.
Known for speaking his opinion freely, Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic openly admitted to mixed emotions after he had masterminded the Rossoblu’s shock 3-0 win over Lazio in early October.
The former Serbia centre-back even declared: “I’m a Lazio fan, I can’t celebrate. We needed this win, but when Lazio suffers, something inside doesn’t let me cheer,” so his position on the return fixture should be fairly transparent.
Despite such reluctance, Mihajlovic’s Bologna have won each of their last two meetings with this weekend’s hosts – keeping a clean sheet on both occasions – and after having failed to win any of the previous 15, they could now win three in a row against them for the first time since 1980.
However, to do so will require a swift reversal in their nosediving form, as they have picked up only four points from their last eight games following a 1-1 draw with another side in decline, mid-table rivals Empoli.
Currently 13th in the standings, 10 points above the drop zone and 11 points shy of Lazio in the last guaranteed European place, Bologna could be set for a long tail-end to what had been developing into a promising campaign, if they cannot soon find a first win of 2022.
Away results have been a major part of the Emilians’ descent into the bottom half, and before they travel south on Saturday, they have accrued only three wins on the road so far this term – conceding at a rate of almost two goals per game.
Lazio Serie A form:
Lazio form (all competitions):
Bologna Serie A form:
We say: Lazio 2-1 Bologna
Though concerns remain about their dubious back line, Lazio have perhaps the ideal opponents to come up against following a dispiriting cup loss.
The Aquile’s fluent front three will surely give the run around to a Bologna rearguard low on confidence due to recent events, and they can be expected to score at least twice on home soil.