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Oct 24, 2020 at 7.45pm UK
Alberto (54'), Immobile (76')
Acerbi (30'), Hoedt (60'), Akpa-Akpro (70')
FT(HT: 0-0)
De Silvestri (90+1')
Tomiyasu (58'), Svanberg (66')

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

:Headline: Preview: Lazio vs. Bologna - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday evening's Serie A clash between Lazio and Bologna, including prediction, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Inconsistent Lazio welcome struggling Bologna to Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, looking to capitalise on a confidence-boosting Champions League victory over Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Dortmund.

Simone Inzaghi's side recovered from a shock 3-0 defeat at Sampdoria last weekend to register three valuable Group F points on Tuesday night.

Their opponents from Emilia-Romagna must overcome a wretched run of Serie A results - the latest being a spectacular implosion to lose against Sassuolo, after leading by two goals with half an hour remaining.

Match preview

Considering the strength and duration of their unexpected title challenge last season, Lazio have started their Serie A campaign a little underwhelmingly. With only one win in four games so far, they have been well short of the early-season pace.

The primary reason for the Biancocelesti's indifferent start lies at the door of their makeshift defence. Certainly, they have paid a heavy price for numerous absences in that department to date, conceding eight goals in the first four games.

For the side with the second best defensive record of 2019-20 - with 41 goals conceded in 38 games - this has had a destabilising effect.

Another concern for Inzaghi has been the mixed form of chief goal-getter Ciro Immobile - missing through suspension during the Sampdoria debacle.

Following lacklustre performances against Inter Milan, Atalanta and for the national team, concerns were growing about the previously unstoppable striker. However, Tuesday's goal and assist against former club Dortmund should boost the record-equalling capocannoniere winner, who netted an extraordinary 36 league goals last term.

With Champions League commitments, however, comes the difficulty of balancing European and domestic duties - particularly in this highly-condensed season.

With next Wednesday's upcoming continental fixture in mind, Inzaghi may be tempted to rotate or rest some regulars - despite boasting a handful of star players, his is a relatively thin squad with inadequate resources to battle successfully on all fronts.

Lazio's visitors on Saturday evening will need to demonstrate great resilience in order to rebound from the heart-breaking manner of last week's loss.

Despite having offered some enterprising football in building a 3-1 lead – dominating the match for large stretches – their brittle back line caved into pressure from an increasingly impressive Sassuolo attack. Conceding three goals in less than 15 minutes is a potentially scarring experience for any side.

Bologna, under ex-Lazio stalwart Sinisa Mihajlovic, will hope to take advantage of the fact that they have been able to prepare for the game throughout the week, while their hosts entertained Dortmund in midweek.

There is some optimism too, given the 'Mihajlovic factor' - the Serb coach is notoriously effective against his former teams.

The Rossoblu manager has issued a plea for patience with his "young boys" and lamented their inexperience in closing games out.

In particular, he offered praise for talented forward Riccardo Orsolini, formerly of Juventus. If Bologna are to take even a point home from this challenging date in the capital, the Under-20 World Cup golden boot winner of 2017 may well be integral to their fortunes.

Lazio Serie A form: WLDL
Lazio form (all competitions): WLDLW

Bologna Serie A form: LWLL

Team News

Lazio defender Luiz Felipe will be assessed ahead of the game and, if fit, could start. Former Southampton man Wesley Hoedt provides cover.

One of those most missed in his absence has been wing-back Manuel Lazzari, who may soon be involved again, but is unlikely to be ready to face the Rossoblu. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Thomas Strakosha have been ruled out.

Vedat Muriqi and Felipe Caicedo will once more contend with Joaquin Correa for the slot alongside main man Immobile in Inzaghi's tried and tested 3-5-2.

Returning to the scene of many of his greatest times as a player, Mihajlovic will have to make do without the injured Andreas Skov Olsen, left-back Mitchell Dijks, veteran defender Gary Medel and captain Andrea Poli, while Lorenzo De Silvestri is a doubt due to a knee injury suffered against Sassuolo.

Ibrahima Mbaye should start on the right of a four-man defence in De Silvestri's probable absence. Highly-rated ex-Hearts man Aaron Hickey will again feature on the left.

Orsolini, Roberto Soriano and on-loan Musa Barrow are expected to start behind age-defying front man Rodrigo Palacio.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Reina; Patric, Acerbi, Hoedt; Marusic, Akpa Akpro, Lucas Leiva, Luis Alberto, Fares; Muriqi, Immobile

Bologna possible starting lineup:
Skorupski; Mbaye, Tomiyasu, Danilo, Hickey; Svanberg, Schouten; Orsolini, Soriano, Barrow; Palacio

We say: Lazio 1-1 Bologna

With both sides' Serie A start falling short of expectations, there is already pressure on them to make up lost ground. Lazio, in particular, are still struggling to match their scintillating pre-pandemic form.

Bologna can take just a fourth point of the season by breaching the recently unreliable Biancocelesti defence - if they can replicate last week's performance without the end-of-game meltdown.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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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