AC Milan v Lazio – Saturday 2nd March 7:45pm Live on ESPN
Fourth plays third as AC Milan host Lazio at the San Siro on Saturday night. The chase for Champions League football next season is hotting up with both teams needing to keep up their form as the season draws to a close.
The hosts sit two points before the visitors, so know that a victory in this fixture will take them up to third in the standings. So it’s an important game.
They go into the match in pretty decent form too. They are unbeaten in 2013, a run which spans over nine games and includes a 2-0 Champions League victory over Barcelona in the first leg. Last weekend, in the Milan derby, they were held to a 1-1 draw by city rivals Inter but should remain high in confidence ahead of this clash.
Mario Balotelli’s arrival from Manchester City at the end of January has given the rossoneri an added boost and he has notched four goals from four appearances for his new side. But the Italian international is injured and will miss the game.
Balotelli’s strike partner Stephan El Shaarawy has been another goal threat in recent games and his odds match that with him favourite in the goalscoring markets at 4/1 (William Hill, Betfred, Totesport) to be first goalscorer and 23/20 (Sportingbet) to score anytime.
Their opposition, Lazio, have been very up and down in recent weeks. Their early season form has put them in this excellent position, but they’ve been very inconsistent over the past few weeks.
Their last two fixtures have been impressive 2-0 home victories though, first to progress into the last 16 of the Europa League against Borussia Monchengladbach and then in the league last weekend versus Pescara.
Before those two wins, they went six matches without victory with three defeats and three draws. That spell saw some defensive deficiencies with goals galore being conceded and that will be an area Milan will look to exploit.
At the other end of the field, they will have former Manchester United striker Louis Saha (if he’s not injured) and Sergio Floccari who has been their most potent goalscoring threat in recent weeks. I would say the Italian is the best bet to get a goal for the biancocelesti with odds of 11/1 (Bet365) for him to open the scoring and 7/2 (Bet365) anytime which looks an inviting price.