The Serie A Game to Watch this week features the only matchup of two teams in the top four in the standings. Although it is only the third week of the season (sorry Sampdoria fans), both Lazio and Juventus are eyeing a possible scudetto and this match could keep one club’s early momentum going.
Lazio: The Biancocelesti comes into the match with two close wins to begin the season against two clubs that could battle relegation all season. What was concerning in their most recent 2-1 win over Chievo Verona was the tight nature of contest; the home team had eleven corners and staged a late blitz of shots against the Lazio defense. However Lazio’s ability (or luck?) to hold on for a win even after defender Sanchez Emilson Cribari was sent off shows some determination from the team.
The season overall has been a mixed bag for Lazio. Over the summer, Lazio upset Inter in the inaugural Super Cup in Beijing. However, the Lazio faithful are restless, as the club failed to sign some of its targets in the recent transfer window. Additionally, it now seems the captain Tammaso Rocchi and his two goals on the year will join striker Mauro Zarate on the sidelines with injuries.
Juventus: La Vecchia Signora is in its familiar place in the standings thanks to two wins over Chievo Verona and Roma. In particular, Juventus exploited Roma mistakes to blitz the hapless Giallorossi in a 3-1 win. New acquisition Diego has notched two goals and an assist so far this season.
The names on this squad are familiar to fans of Italian soccer, as many of the starting eleven are also on the Italian national team. It starts in the back with Gianluigi Buffon, one of the best keepers in the world. Vincenzo Iaquinta once again leads the offense but it is new acquisition Diego who seems to be a necessary spark for the offense, setting up Iaquinta on the only goal in the Chievo Verona match and scoring two goals against Roma.
Prediction: Both clubs have the talent and experience to compete for the scudetto. Lazio has shown a determined defense so far, holding off late charges in both their matches for six points. However, the loss of two of their most talented starters will prove to be insurmountable. The key is whether the recent international break has helped or tired the Juventus side; after Saturday’s match they face Bordeaux in the Champion’s League Tuesday.
Juventus slips a few past the Lazio defense for a 2-1 victory.