MX23RW : Tuesday, January 5 15:42:54| >> :120:71883:71883:
Dec 5, 2020 at 2pm UK at Stadio Alberto Picco, La Spezia, Italy
N'Zola (64')
Bastoni (23'), Terzi (31'), Ricci (82')
FT(HT: 0-2)

Preview: Spezia vs. Lazio - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Spezia and Lazio, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Cesena - current home to Spezia's first Serie A campaign - sees the Ligurian side welcome Lazio on Saturday as they continue to disprove the odds - and their doubters.

Their hard-earned 2-2 draw at Cagliari last week contrasted with a limp league display from Simone Inzaghi's Biancocelesti as they slumped to a 3-1 reverse versus Udinese.

Match preview

Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi pictured on October 20, 2020© Reuters

Lazio's domestic defeat - at home to modest opposition - may have been a significant blip, but the Rome side will be heartened by a midweek show of resilience in the Champions League.

A 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in Germany brought Inzaghi's team a step closer to a spot in the last-16 of Europe's premier competition for the first time since 2001. Nevertheless, progress remains in the balance and it all comes down to a crunch clash with Belgium's Club Brugge next week.

Certainly, they are a side plainly struggling to maintain consistency when faced with fixtures nearly every three days - Lazio have conceded 16 goals in the first nine Serie A games for the first time since 1992-93.

Such a statistic is a measure of the impact of injuries and illness in their defence, but also the lack of strength-in-depth in some parts of their squad.

Last week's shocking home reverse derailed a recent revival in Serie A, which had been spurred by star striker Ciro Immobile's return from quarantine. Saturday's opponents, though, may be spirited but are also still inexperienced at the highest level.

Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano pictured in November 2020© Reuters

The only competitive match between Spezia and Lazio in the clubs' histories came in the Coppa Italia, back in May 1941. That is chiefly because the Bianconeri have spent most of their existence in Italy's lower leagues.

In the summer, shortly after unexpected promotion through the Serie B playoffs, Spezia set about signing virtually a whole new squad within a matter of weeks. Thirteen of their 19 bargain buys arrived on loan from clubs far and wide, in a transfer strategy that appeared scattergun and doomed to fail.

Vincenzo Italiano's side have begun the season in relatively promising fashion though. Gli Aquilotti currently sit 14th, with two wins, four draws and three defeats on the balance sheet and are currently four points above the drop zone.

Since October 2020, no team has drawn more Serie A matches than Spezia's four - marking them out as particularly determined and dogged opponents. Not only that, but they have registered a more-than-respectable tally of 13 goals to date, just one less than Lazio.

However, they are the only side that have never been in a winning position in home league matches in this season, with the Ligurians picking up only two points in 'home' games so far - a fact that will not go unnoticed in the visitors' camp.

Spezia Serie A form: DDLWDD
Spezia form (all competitions): WLWDWD

Lazio Serie A form: LWWDWL
Lazio form (all competitions): DDWWLD

Team News

Thomas Strakosha in action for Lazio during a Serie A match against Inter Milan in March 2019© Reuters

Spezia prepare to face Lazio with several men missing, such as long-term absentees Andrej Galabinov and Jeroen Zoet, plus forward Daniele Verde, who has a thigh strain.

The Bianconeri hope to have Federico Mattiello and Tommaso Pobega - sidelined on the eve of last week's match with Cagliari - back in the fold. Neither is likely to start though in Italiano's 4-3-3, in which M'bala Nzola leads the line after his late penalty equaliser in Sardinia last time out.

Lazio's Simone Inzaghi, on the other hand, finally has an almost full squad at his disposal - notwithstanding any fatigue from their relentless schedule.

Only striker Vedat Muriqi and captain Senad Lulic are still out – their veteran skipper is now expected to return in January.

The Biancocelesti have goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha back between the posts, with the Albanian stopper now set to start after returning to the bench in midweek, following a spell in self-isolation.

Spezia possible starting lineup:
Provedel; Vignali, Terzi, Erlic, Bastoni; Acampora, Maggiore, Ricci; Gyasi, Nzola, Farias

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Marusic; Immobile, Correa

SM words green background

We say: Spezia 1-2 Lazio

Having let their recent revival slip unexpectedly at the hands of improving Udinese last time, Lazio are unlikely to start as sluggishly again.

Vincenzo Italiano's Spezia have been competitive highly competitive in Serie A so far, but have generally foundered when facing top-class teams and may be powerless to prevent Ciro Immobile from adding to a growing goal tally.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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