Up For The Coppa
After Juventus suffered a 15-point deduction in Serie A, any hopes of finishing in the Champions League playing places have taken a massive dent. However, a return to Europe could still be secured via victory in this season’s Coppa Italia.
A Brief Respite
Although Juventus were never going to win this season’s edition of Serie A, they were certainly in the race to be the best of the rest and with Max Allegri’s men beginning to pick up a considerable head of steam, they would soon be stopped in their tracks by matters off the field.
What could have been a top-four standing at the time of writing, is now 13th instead and although the Old Lady of Turin will certainly feel hard done by after their hefty points deduction, only an unlikely victory via an appeal will brighten Juventus’ league position.
Which is why the Coppa Italia has taken on extra importance for the team and although the competition is not as revered as its FA Cup cousin, it is still a piece of silverware that is keenly contested.
Especially as far as Juventus are concerned and after making it all the way to last year’s final, they were eventually beaten by Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico. Disappointment nine months ago, but the opportunity to exact some revenge is lurking around the corner.
With Inter confirming their place in the quarterfinals, they will soon be paired with the winner of Thursday’s clash between Juventus and Lazio. Revenge may be on the horizon, but the hosts need to advance first.
Something that will be easier said than done and with the Romans in fine fettle at present. Maurizio Sarri has currently overseen a four match unbeaten run in the league. A run that has also delivered eight points from the last 12 on offer.
Of course, league points are not going to be up for grabs on Thursday, but Lazio’s performances in the past few weeks should certainly offer a precursor to future events and you only need to look to their recent past as evidence of that.
While the case in point, is certainly the three points that they picked up against AC Milan. Not only did they pick them up, they smashed the defending champions on their own turf and ran rampant towards a 4-0 win.
Victory that was followed up with a draw at home to Fiorentina and although that is not ideal preparation for Thursday, Juventus have picked up just one point from the last nine on offer and since that hefty deduction, they have found themselves in something of a tailspin.
One that was certainly accelerated after a shock defeat to Monza and that 2-0 home reverse means they have now conceded 10 goals in their last three league meetings. A statistic that Lazio supporters will like the sound of.
A statistic that I also like the sound of and even though Lazio have nothing in the way of home advantage, they do have good form. Add this to the hosts’ leaky defence and the away win but both teams scoring at odds of 13/2 sounds a great price for starters.
That is not all though and with Mattia Zaccagni finding the net in the past week, the attacking midfielder has scored in three of his last five outings. I fancy him to score, I also fancy him to open the scoring at odds of 11/1.