Lazio vs. Cagliari preview: Mid-table clash could go either way

Marco Luzzani

Lazio, draw-happy of late, take on Cagliari, just a point behind them in the table, in an encounter that is difficult to predict, but is high on intrigue.

Two thumpings from Juventus, one in the Supercoppa Italiana and one in the league two weeks later, aside, Lazio enjoyed a relatively positive start to the season, winning four of their first six league matches, the other defeat being a 2-0 derby loss to top-of-the-table Roma. Things have started to slide as of late however, and Lazio are without a victory since they beat Catania 3-1 towards the end of September. A draw with whipping boys Sassuolo was followed with a dour 0-0 against an injury-hit Fiorentina, in a match where neither side could so much as muster a chance between them. This was then followed by a discouraging loss away to Atalanta, a late German Denis goal sealing the Biancocelesti's fate in that encounter. Another worrying sign was a goalless midweek Europa League draw with Apollon Limassol, a side that Lazio should be expected to despatch with relatively easily, especially when including the likes of Hernanes, Cristian Ledesma and Alvaro Gonzalez in the side.

Cagliari were widely expected to be in a relegation dogfight last season however a mid-season purple patch shot them up the table and safety was secured with a few matches to play. Although they didn't really strengthen in the summer, they did manage to keep the key members of the squad together and their performances this season have mirrored last season thus far and they find themselves 12th in the table, already five points clear of the relegation places. Victories over Atalanta and Catania bookended a run of four consecutive draws in September however taking points from encounters with Fiorentina and Inter, as well as fellow mid-table battlers Sampdoria and Livorno, can be seen as a success for the Rossoblu, and they will be looking for at least a point against a Lazio side low on morale of late.

Lazio have a few injury worries, with Abdoulay Konko and Giuseppe Biava set to miss out and Stefano Mauri's suspension for his involvement in a match-fixing scandal ongoing. Cagliari are relatively free of injury worries with only Albin Ekdal set to miss out, whilst Danele Dessena is a doubt.

Lazio injuries and suspensions

Out: Vinicius Freitas, Emiliano Alfaro, Abdoulay Konko, Giuseppe Biava (injured); Stefano Mauri (suspended). In doubt: Antonio Candreva, Senad Lulic, Stefan Radu

Cagliari injuries and suspensions

Out: Albin Ekdal (injured). In doubt: Daniele Dessena, Vlada Avramov.

Projected lineups

Lazio: Marchetti, Cavanda, Ciani, Cana, Lulic, Ledesma, Biglia, Hernanes, Ederson, Klose, Perea

Cagliari: Agazzi, Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Murru, Cabrera, Conti, Nainggolan, Cossu, Sau, Pinilla

Match date/time: Sunday 27th October 2013, 20:45 local, 14:45 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome

TV: Sky Calcio 1/HD, Premium Calcio (Italy); BT Sport 2 (UK)

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