As much as pretty much everybody is already handing Juventus an eighth straight Scudetto with just a little less than half of the 2018-19 Serie A season still to be played, it’s opportunities like the one Juve have in front of them that will only make that growing trend even more overwhelming.
You see, Saturday night brought a favorable result for Juventus even though they didn’t even take the field until 24 hours later. Second-place Napoli, which entered the weekend nine points back of Juventus, played out a scoreless draw against AC Milan at the San Siro.
For the moment, Juve’s lead over Napoli is eight points.
Come the end of Sunday night, it could be in double digits.
Juventus has made trip over to the Italian capital where they will play at the Stadio Olimpico for the first time this season. Their opponent, Lazio, is in the midst of a relatively interesting season seeing as they’re definitely in the mix for a European spot yet haven’t exactly enjoyed the best results.
Let’s just go ahead and look at Lazio’s results against the five teams that were in front of them in the Serie A standings when we were set to start the weekend’s schedule, shall we?
- Aug. 18 — 2-1 loss to Napoli
- Aug. 25 — 2-0 loss to Juventus
- Sept. 29 — 3-1 loss to Roma
- Oct. 29 — 3-0 loss to Inter Milan
- Nov. 25 — 1-1 draw against Milan
- Jan. 20 — 2-1 loss to Napoli
As you can probably figure out, with a possible 18 points at stake against the five teams currently in front of them, Lazio has collected all of one single point. O-N-E point. That’s it.
This is the flaw of Lazio this season, my friends.
Lazio can beat the Genoa, Empoli, Frosinone kinds of sides, but when it comes to facing the big clubs, the clubs that are also challenging for a Europa League spot at the very least, they come up empty. They aren’t scoring at the same rate that they were last season. They aren’t even going to come close to having the same kind of goal differential as they did a season ago.
This Lazio isn’t the same as last season’s Lazio. It is one that, although it is currently sitting in seventh place entering the day’s set of games after Sampdoria jumped over them with a win Saturday, it’s not like they’re getting the kind of results that they did a year ago when they were such a tough side to face.
But when it comes to playing in Rome, it’s not always a cakewalk. And Juventus know all about that.
So now we see if this visit to Rome can turn into one that sees Juve’s lead atop the Serie A table hit double digits. And seeing as Napoli has already played their game this weekend, that potential double-digit lead could be there for a little while.
That sounds good to me. How about you?
When: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Official kickoff time: 8:30 p.m. local time in Italy and around Europe; 7:30 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time; 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time
Juventus starting XI (4-3-3): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Emre Can, Matuidi, Bentancur; Douglas Costa, Dybala, Ronaldo
Juventus bench: Pinsoglio, Perin, Chiellini, Cancelo, Spinazzola, Fagioli, Kean, Bernardeschi
Lazio starting XI (3-5-2): Strakosha; Bastos, Wallace, Radu; Parolo, Luis Alberto, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic, Lulic; Correa, Immobile
Lazio bench: Proto, Guerrieri, Silva, Durmisi, Berisha, Cataldi, Badelj, Murgia, Neto, Caicedo
HOW TO WATCH
Television: RAI Italia America (United States); RAI Italia America, TLN (Canada); Sky Supercalcio HD, Sky Sport Uno, Sky Calcio 1, Sky Sport Serie A (Italy)
Online/mobile: ESPN+ (United States); DAZN (Canada); Eleven Sports 2 UK (United Kingdom); Sky Go Italia (Italy)
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