Two sides harbouring Scudetto hopes clash as Lazio welcome Milan to Rome on Saturday night.
Talk about a six pointer. Lazio are looking for that big name scalp to solidify them as credible title contenders, while AC Milan are desperate for a victory to kickstart their faltering season.
Whatever the result in at the Stadio Olimpico, under-fire coach Massimiliano Allegri's job is apparently not under threat. Vice-President Adriano Galliani has professed "the greatest faith in Allegri," this week, aka the dreaded vote of confidence: "The game in Rome will not be, in any case, the last stop for Allegri, no matter what happens," he said.
Lazio won this fixture 2-0 back in February to snap a 14 year winless streak against the Rossoneri. Despite picking up back-to-back league victories before the international break, the hosts will be wary of a Milan side still licking their wounds from a bitter Derby Della Madonnina defeat to rivals Inter.
A bullish Vladimir Petkovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he always considers his own team as favourites, but concedes that it's too early to talk about the Scudetto. "Lazio must improve and learn how to react to difficult situations. We have to play at a high level for the full 90 minutes," he said.
Thus far, only Napoli and Genoa have managed to expose Lazio's tried and tested 4-1-4-1 formation. Petkovic has tested out a 3-5-2 during the break and welcomed back injury prone Romanian defender Stefan Radu in a 6-2 victory over Civitavecchia.
Both Ederson and Abdoulay Konko should shake off knocks in time to play, but it remains to be seen whether exiled striker Mauro Zarate is brought back in from the cold.
Miroslav Klose is the form man for the Eagles. The German notched up three goals in two games for his country during international week, to go along with his five Serie A strikes. The 34-year-old is primed to face Milan, but has cut out his famous somersault celebration, to not risk injury.
Talking of injuries, Milan plan to take Alexandre Pato out of the protective bubblewrap and put the Duck back in the water. The Brazilian has had a tough time with injuries, but is expected to be brought back to give Milan a boost ahead of a crunch Champions League clash with Malaga in midweek. Massimo Ambrosini and Daniele Bonera are also expected to recover from minor knocks and take their places in the travelling squad.
Lazio injuries and suspensions
Out: Cristian Brocchi, Modibo Diakite
AC Milan injuries and suspensions
Out: Robinho (thigh)
In Doubt: Christian Abbiati (chest infection)
Match Date/Time: Saturday 20th October 8:45 p.m. local, 3:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
TV: Sky Calcio 2, Premium Calcio (Italy) RAI Internazionale, beIN Sport en Espanol (U.S.), ESPN (U.K.), Setanta Sports (Eire)