Juventus
    Juventus
      04.12.2015 11:45 - in: Serie A S

      Ten things to know about #LazioJuve

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      Cup final clashes, ex-players, likely landmarks and the pick of the pre-match stats and figures all feature in our list of ten things to know about tonight's tussle in Rome
      1) Bianconero is best

      Friday night’s tussle will mark the 143rd Serie A meeting between Lazio and Juventus and by now the Biancocelesti may well be sick of the sight of the Bianconeri. Of those previous encounters, Juve have won 74 and drawn 36, scoring 254 goals along the way. As a result, no other club has managed more victories or found the net more times against Lazio in top-flight history.

      The Old Lady’s dominance in this fixture has been reinforced particularly in the last 13 years, a period in which the champions are yet to taste defeat at the hands of this evening’s hosts, in a run stretching back 21 games. In that time, the Bianconeri have failed to score just once, in a 0-0 draw in November 2012.

      Even at the Stadio Olimpico the story is much the same: the club from the capital have collected just three points from the last 10 visits of Juventus with their last victory coming way back in December 2003: Roberto Mancini the man in charge, Bernardo Corradi and Stefano Fiori the men on the scoresheet. 

      2) Can we miss kick-off?

      In a roundabout way, yes, sort of. Neither Lazio nor Juventus have managed to get their fans back up and off their seats in celebration in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season.

      If you’re going to skip a part of this clash (we’re not entirely sure why you would want to but for the sake of this second point, we’ll continue) then make sure it isn’t the final quarter of an hour, as both of tonight’s teams have proven to be rather prolific in the closing stages (six strikes for the Bianconeri, five for the Biancocelesti).

      At the other end, a thorough and rigorous warm-up should be on the cards for Massimiliano Allegri’s men as Lazio (five) are second only to Carpi (six) for goals conceded in the opening exchanges of games this campaign. 

      3) Stefano's strategies
      Normally deploying a 4-3-3 formation, Lazio boss Stefano Pioli opted for a two-man attack in an improved performance against Empoli last weekend
      4) A game of two wings

      Much has been said of Juve’s penchant for crossing this season, especially after the arrivals of target man Mario Mandzukic and assist king Alex Sandro, but on this front Allegri’s charges have been trumped by this evening’s opponents. 

      No one has put more balls into the box from wide areas this season than Stefano Pioli’s Lazio (376), though a late onslaught and 41 crosses into the home side’s penalty this evening may well see the Bianconeri overtake them in top spot (335) however unlikely that is. 

      Curiously, the Biancocelesti have also won the most corners so far this term (100) but are yet to score from one. 

      5) Ex's ahoy!

      The road from Lazio to Juventus and vice versa has been a reasonably well trodden path in recent seasons with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Antonio Candreva, Alessandro Matri and Hernanes all donning both Biancoceleste and Bianconero jerseys.

      The man to have made the biggest mark in both Turin and Rome, besides Pavel Nedved of course, has been Lichtsteiner, who made 100 appearances for Lazio between 2008 and 2011 before journeying north to join Juventus. 

      The reverse has been the case for Candreva, a Bianconero himself for a brief spell at the back end of the 2009/10 season that yielded two strikes for the Italy international, now a key piece in Pioli’s Lazio jigsaw.

      If it’s goals from ex’s and delicious sub-plots that you want then look no further than Alessandro Matri. ‘Mitra’ found the net 27 times in three seasons for Juve including a memorable winner in last season’s Coppa Italia final against his new club. 

      Incidentally, of the players in tonight’s respective squads to have scored more than twice this season, Alessandro (141.5) and Simone Zaza (142) have the best minutes per goal ratios this season. On that basis, having struck against Palermo on Sunday night, Simone won’t be on target this evening, so the stats say anyway.

      One man who won’t be returning to his former home however is the injured Hernanes. The Brazilian began his Serie A career with Lazio in the summer of 2010, collecting 118 appearances and 33 goals for the club before departing for Inter four years later.

      6) Stat attack
      A round-up of who has done what the most for the Biancocelesti so far this season
      7) Likely landmarks

      It’s getting rather tricky keeping track of all the records equaled or smashed by Gianluigi Buffon in recent weeks, whether it’s playing the most minutes in a Juventus shirt, reaching his 20-year Serie A anniversary or simply being the coolest guy on the planet. 

      Although that last one was made up, Gigi will be ticking off another very real and very impressive milestone tonight at the Stadio Olimpico with the 38-year old poised to make his 400th top-flight bow for the Bianconeri.

      Meanwhile there are possible landmarks in the offing for midfield pair Juan Cuadrado and Stefano Sturaro who could make their 150th and 50th Serie A appearance respectively if called upon tonight. 

      8) Will tonight follow the formbook?

      Four losses and a draw in their last five have put Lazio at the bottom of the Serie A form table alongside strugglers Verona and Sampdoria but the Biancocelesti’s home form has at least been their saving grace this term.

      While they have only picked up one point from the last two fixtures on home turf five of Lazio’s six league wins this season have come at the Stadio Olimpico and before November’s 3-1 home defeat to Milan, Pioli’s men had triumphed five times in a row in Rome.

      Juventus on the other hand are in their best form of the season and will have eyes firmly trained on registering a fifth consecutive league victory for the first time since October 2014.

      November also saw Allegri’s charges radically improve their results on the road, having racked up six strikes in their last two matches away from home, just as many as they had managed in the previous six.

      So, in answer to the question, hopefully yes. 

      9) Down in the dugout

      The pre-match stats don’t read well for Lazio boss Pioli either, as the ex-Juventus man between 1984 and 1987 has never beaten the Bianconeri as a coach, registering three draws and eight defeats (two of which came in finals last season).

      Not only that, Pioli has never beaten a team managed by Allegri, taking three points from a possible 18 from the Tuscan. A defeat for Max this evening though would level the stakes in his own personal managerial record against Lazio, having won five and lost four of his previous 13 encounters.

      The first of these reverses came in the Juve boss’ Serie A dugout debut in August 2008, Lazio comfortable 4-1 winners on that occasion.

       

      10) Last time out: Shanghai SuperJuve

      The previous two meetings between these two came in cup finals with Juve raising the trophy aloft on both occasions, with May’s memorable Coppa Italia triumph coming on Biancocelesti territory at the Stadio Olimpico.

      The most recent of course came in this summer’s Super Cup showpiece in Shanghai and in case you had forgotten the story of that one, let us briefly refresh your memory…

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