Lazio v Atalanta – Stadio Olimpico at 14:00 GMT+1
Game of the weekend in Italy arrives on Saturday afternoon as Lazio and Atalanta lock horns in the capital. The two clubs occupy berths inside Serie A’s top-six in the early exchanges of the 2019/20 campaign and will be eying up Champions League qualification places come May.
Lazio concluded last term in a disappointing eighth-place finish, a full 10 points behind Inter in fourth. However, the Biancocelesti made up for it with silverware by clinching top honours in the Coppa Italia. Relative success brought interest in head coach Simone Inzaghi, although the 43-year-old remains in situ.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile remain the star attractions, while new winger Manuel Lazzari has added ability to beat players and deliver balls into the box. Nevertheless, Lazio sill look a little weak in central areas with Milan Badelj leaving and Lucas Leiva and Marco Parolo ageing in the middle of the park.
The Romans, like their visitors on Saturday, have veered between brilliant performances and frustrating ones this season. Had the Biancocelesti brought their shooting boys to the San Siro against Inter, we could quite easily be viewing Lazio as potential outside contenders for the Scudetto, for example.
Ace Atalanta hard to oppose
No Serie A club has amassed more points or goals in the 2019 calendar year than Atalanta, who qualified for the Champions League and currently sit third in the domestic table. European assignments haven’t proven quite so fruitful but Gian Piero Gasperini’s group remain a match for most in Italy.
The veteran boss feels there is more to come after they beat Lecce 3-1 before the international break, La Dea’s fourth victory in five Serie A showdowns. The Bergamo boys have continued to create countless chances in the attacking third and their swashbuckling offensive style captives neutrals.
Unfortunately for Gasperini and Atalanta, the club were dealt a huge blow this week as striker Duvan Zapata was ruled out for at least three weeks with a thigh injury picked up whilst away with Colombia. Opportunity therefore knocks for summer signing Luis Muriel to lead the line in La Dea’s unique 3-4-1-2 formation.
Goals the best angle of attack
Serie A has long since rid lazy clichés of Catenaccio-style football, batting back stereotypical assumptions of a boring, low-scoring league. Italy’s top-flight has largely been a thrilling division to follow over the past few seasons and 2019/20 is already shaping up to be a very watchable affair.
Both Lazio and Atalanta contribute heavily to overall goals per-game tallies and the duo should combine to produce an entertaining spectacle on Saturday. Collectively, the pair have seen 3.36 goals per-game thus far with 10 of those 14 fixtures featuring Over 2.5 Goals and half producing Over 3.5 Goals profit.
Performance data also points towards a high-scoring shoot-out with the two teams seeing a combined 4.04 total average for Expected Goals (xG) from open play across those opening encounters, suggesting the 1.70 available on Over 2.75 Goals is a little too generous to ignore here.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.75 Goals at 1.700
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.