Fiorentina v Lazio – Stadio Artemio Franchi at 17:00 live at BT Sport
Fiorentina have returned a solitary point from two winnable away games at Sassuolo and Palermo recently to stall in their bid to take the final Europa League qualification spot in Serie A.
La Viola are sitting in eighth in the standings, just three points adrift of AC Milan. But with Europa League qualification beginning as early as July, rumours are abound that Paolo Sousa’s men – and others – are happy to miss out on a early start to their 2017/18 season.
La Viola against the league’s elite
However, neither of those two recent outings took place at the Stadio Sao Paolo, Fiorentina’s base where the Florence outfit have proven so strong across the course of the campaign and I’d be surprised if Sousa allowed his team to down tools ahead of a home encounter against one of the league’s elite.
La Viola have been beaten just once at home all season and have W3-D4-L0 when entertaining top-half teams here suggesting they’re more than capable of raising their game to match the level of their opposition.
Lazio cutting loose
Meanwhile, Lazio have already secured European football for next season and have been making big headlines over the past few weeks. A derby victory over neighbours Roma was followed up with an astonishing 7-3 spanking of Sampdoria.
The Biancocelesti have now notched 18 goals in their past four fixtures, are unbeaten in seven matches although they have faced bottom-eight clubs in six of those encounters. Still, Lazio can boast a respective W3-D2-L3 return when coming up against top-half teams on their travels.
Simone Inzaghi’s charges’ three losses in those eight games came at Juventus and twice at the San Siro against the two Milan clubs but they’re unlikely to fear a trip to Florence having dominated the recent head-to-head between the two sides.
Lazio have taken maximum points in five of the past six meetings but these encounters have tended to be awash with goals; four of those six games featured at least four goals and everything is pointing towards another goal-heavy game here.
Fiorentina captain and centre-back Gonzalo Rodriguez is suspended and his absence La Viola have been involved in 3-3 draws when welcoming Napoli and Genoa here, as well as a 5-4 thriller against Inter Milan. Sousa’s side always appear defensively vulnerable without Gonzalo.
The hosts have shipped at least two goals in each of their last five outings but have been involved in matches producing at least three goals in nine of their last 11 at the Sao Paolo.
Lazio have also provided profit for Over 2.5 Goals in each of their last six contests with seven of their past 10 on the road breaking the two-goal barrier. With that in mind, backing Over 3 Goals appears generous enough to snap up at even-money on Saturday evening.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Over 3 Goals (2.00)
Prices correct at time of writing.