Immobile meets immovable force in Bonucci as Lazio-Juventus clash
Sportsbet.io handpicks the mouth-watering tussles in the Lazio-Juventus showdown in the Serie A.
The Serie A witnesses a top of the table clash this week, well almost. Juventus were replaced at the top last week by Inter but can reclaim that tonight after Inter drew with Roma to lose some ground.
However, the Old Lady of Turin are up against third-placed Lazio, six points off Juventus. They are flying high, winning nine games while scoring 33 goals and conceding just 14. Lazio are also on a four-game winning run in all competitions so come into the big clash high on confidence.
Juventus, meanwhile, have gone about their business in a typically mechanical fashion, being the only unbeaten side in Serie A this season. The qualitative depth in their squad offers them the luxury of rotating players while on a winning run. Although their six-game winning run which was brought to a halt in a draw against Sassuolo, the Bianconeri aim to get back to winning ways with a positive result at the Stadio Olimpico.
The match-up is a prospective thriller and here are the players whose battles may play a key role:
CIRO IMMOBILE vs LEONARDO BONUCCI
Who would’ve thought Ciro Immobile would have the season he is currently having? The Italian striker is in the form of his life, scoring 17 goals in 14 games in the Serie A to comfortably sit atop the goal-scorers list. He has 27 key passes and has created 32 chances and has scored with both feet and his head.
His task will be cut out against the rock that is his compatriot Leonardo Bonucci though. The defender, who came back to Turin last year, has continued to stop attackers in their tracks, succeeding in 91% of his tackles, making 40 clearances and 13 interceptions so far.
SERGEJ MILINKOVIC-SAVIC VS MIRALEM PJANIC
Milinkovic-Savic attracted attention from the best clubs a couple of years ago, but nothing materialized, and his stock has taken a dip since. The midfielder has two goals and four assists this season and has created the same number of chances as Ronaldo has for Juventus. He has also successfully completed 74% of his dribbles, and his undeniable quality makes him a key player in the middle of the park.
Milinkovic-Savic will have a battle on his hands with though, as Juventus will field Miralem Pjanic against him. Pjanic, calm on the ball with silky feet and the vision of a hunter, has a 90% pass accuracy rate in 13 games so far and has contributed three goals and an assist for the Bianconeri. The 29-year-old Bosnian midfielder is a proven match-winner on his day, and head coach Maurizio Sarri will demand Pjanic orchestrate proceedings against Lazio.
FRANCESCO ACERBI VS CRISTIANO RONALDO
A rock of the Lazio defence since his signature last July, Acerbi has been crucial in the club conceding only 14 goals. The Italian has made 34 clearances and 24 interceptions, so it is by no means an easy task to get past him. However, as his opponent is Cristiano Ronaldo this weekend, the 31-year-old must pull up his socks and avoid leaking out spaces for the Portuguese legend to exploit.
Words: William Paul