AC Milan v Lazio awaits the Rossoneri in Serie A this weekend. After wins over Sampdoria and Cagliari and the international break, Pioli's side are back at San Siro as they host Sarri's team, who are level at the top with AC Milan on six points. The Biancocelesti, who were a source of both joy and pain for the Diavolo last season, are shaping up to be a top side again this season. It's an early-season test that has end-of-season implications, and we've taken a deeper look:
UPDATE FROM MILANELLO
AC Milan have no players who are suspended or one booking away from suspension. The Rossoneri will, however, have to make do without Olivier Giroud, who will be back with the team tomorrow after testing negative for Covid-19. Nevertheless, there is the return of Zlatan Ibrahimović to look forward to. Indeed, the Swede made the most of the international break and is back training with the group, meaning he's in contention to play again after four months out. Franck Kessie's recovery is also important, while Tiémoué Bakayoko and Pietro Pellegri are in the matchday squad for the first time. Messias and Krunić are unavailable, with the latter having picked up an injury with Bosnia.
"I'm happy with what I have at my disposal and am seeing an increasingly motivated team that works to the maximum in training," said Stefano Pioli on the eve of the game. "We've got many tests of maturity coming up. Each test will tell us where we're at and how much we'll need to raise our performance levels. Lazio are a very strong team that combine technique with physicality. It'll be an exciting game."
The aim: three straight wins from the first three Serie A matchdays. The 1-0 win away to Samp and the 4-1 home victory against Cagliari were confidence-boosters, but these first fixtures following an international break can be tricky. AC Milan, however, are looking in great shape both physically and mentally.
UPDATE FROM LAZIO
No player is missing through suspension. Since the start of the season, one of the most important additions to this Biancocelesti side has been new boss Maurizio Sarri, who has reason to be cheerful as Immobile has recovered from a knock that he picked up while on international duty. Lazzari is also back in the team. Sarri has already implemented a new tactical system to the one seen during the Inzaghi era, playing with four at the back.
Lazio's squad changed very little over the course of the summer: signings of note were Hysaj, Felipe Anderson, Pedro and Zaccagni, while Correa has left the club. As always, Lazio's 4-3-3 depends on Reina's experience in goal, Acerbi's leadership at the back and the quality of Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinković-Savić in the centre of the park. The club from the capital are top of the league on goal difference - level on points with AC Milan on six - thanks to wins over Empoli away from home (3-1) and Spezia in Rome (6-1).
"It'll be a difficult match; AC Milan are a very aggressive side with great players," said Pedro a day before Sunday's showdown. "For us, it'll be a good opportunity to show what we can do." Meanwhile, Mattia Zaccagni had the following to say: "Lazio's objective is to win every game. I remember making my Verona debut against Inter in Milan, and this time I'll be doing the same for Lazio but against AC Milan. It's a new start for me, and I'm very happy that it's in this shirt."
This will be the 156th meeting between AC Milan and Lazio in Serie A: the record as it stands reads 67 wins for the Rossoneri, 30 for the Biancocelesti and 59 draws. AC Milan will take on Lazio for the 79th time at San Siro in the league: 45 wins for the home team, ten for the away side and 23 draws. AC Milan, in fact, haven't lost a single game in the league since that defeat to Lazio at the Olimpico on 26 March; it ended 3-0 with goals from Correa (brace) and Immobile. Since then, the Rossoneri are unbeaten in their last seven and kept a run of six clean sheets, which was interrupted by Cagliari's goal last time out. It ended 3-2 in the last meeting between the two at San Siro, with Rebić, Çalhanoğlu, Luis Alberto, Immobile and Theo Hernández (at the death) on the scoresheet.
Fun fact: AC Milan have drawn more games in Serie A against Lazio than against any other side (599 - The most common result between the two teams is 1-1 (27 matches, the most recent in November 2018). Stefano Pioli coached Lazio 69 times in Serie A (W32, L22, D15). Former AC Milan players Reina and Acerbi are at Lazio, while AC Milan are without Giroud, who played under Sarri for a season at Chelsea. Other former Blues in this fixture are Tomori and Bakayoko for the Rossoneri and Pedro for the Laziali.
UPDATE FROM CASA MILAN
In Italy, AC Milan v Lazio will be broadcast live exclusively on DAZN. Matchday coverage with a Rossoneri twist, meanwhile, will be given on Milan TV, which is available on SKY (channel 230), DAZN or Amazon Prime Video Channels (€3.99 per month with a 15-day free trial). Live coverage will begin at 16:45 CEST and will take you all the way up to kick-off at San Siro. Post-match analysis, interviews and Pioli's press conference will be brought to you right from the final whistle.
We're also live from 17:55 CEST on AC Milan's Twitch channel with Live Reaction in the company of Francesco Specchia, Lollo and Garrincha from the Vibrazioni. In addition, don't miss our match feed on Twitter or other coverage on acmilan.com and the AC Milan Official App.
UPDATE FROM SERIE A
Daniele Chiffi will referee AC Milan v Lazio, his 59th match in Serie A. Chiffi has refereed the Rossoneri on three occasions, with AC Milan winning one, drawing one and losing one. Assisting him will be Liberti and Galetto as linesmen, Fufferli as Fourth Official and Mazzoleni (assisted by Alassio) on VAR duty.
AC Milan v Lazio will be the third-to-last game on Serie A matchday 3. The games on Saturday were: Empoli 1-2 Venezia, Napoli 2-1 Juventus and Atalanta 1-2 Fiorentina. On Sunday, as well as the Rossoneri, we have Sampdoria v Inter (12:30 CEST), Cagliari v Genoa (15:00 CEST), Spezia v Udinese (15:00 CEST), Torino v Salernitana (15:00 CEST) and Roma v Sassuolo (20:45 CEST). Finally, on Monday, it's Bologna v Verona (20:45 CEST).
Here are the current Serie A standings: Napoli* 9; Lazio, Inter, Roma, AC Milan, Fiorentina* 6; Udinese, Bologna, Sassuolo, Atalanta* 4; Empoli*, Venezia* 3, Sampdoria, Cagliari, Spezia, Juventus* 1; Torino, Hellas Verona, Salernitana, Genoa 0. (* one more match played)
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