This game may have to compete with Serie A's marquee match, pitting Juventus against AC Milan, but Fiorentina - Lazio deserves a bit of attention as well. Not because it will necessarily be an exciting game - Edy Reja is doing his darndest to suck any bit of fun out of the biancocelesti - but because both sides have a point to prove.
After the return of Reja, Lazio were coasting along, going six games unbeaten and starting to resemble a side that could actually compete. At least, those who managed to stay awake through their matches could argue this point. Then came the rude awakening: a 3-1 loss to bottom side Catania. Then last week, relegation candidates Sassuolo fought back, with Lazio only able to win thanks to an own-goal from Paolo Cannavaro. Will Reja be able to restore some order this week?
A trip to Florence to face Vincenzo Montella's attack-minded squad must mean that Lazio are prepared to sit back, defend, and accept a point. Fiorentina used to be able to rip such sides apart. Then came the loss of Giuseppe Rossi, combined with other, more minor injuries that kept the viola from fielding a coherent squad - and often from putting any true forwards on the pitch.
The stress has eased somewhat, what with Alessandro Matri coming in on loan from Milan. He's tipped to start alongside Josip Iličić and Juan Cuadrado, although with Mario Gómez finally back to health, Montella might decide to use the German instead. The viola need all the help they can get right now: just one win and only five points from their last five outings means they're now six points behind Napoli in that all-important third-place slot.
Fiorentina will also need to deal with the loss of Borja Valero, whose alleged physical altercation with the referee during last week's draw with Parma sees the Spaniard banned for four matches. That means a less coherent midfield, and Lazio could take advantage of the hosts' weaker pressing and attempt to actually go for goal.
Injuries and Suspensions
Lazio: Emiliano Alfaro, André Dias, Ederson, Hélder Postiga (injured)
Match Date / Time
Sunday, March 2 at 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
TV: Sky Calcio 2 (Italy)
Online: beIN Sports Play (USA and Canada); bet365