Off-form and without Ronaldinho, Pirlo or Pato, AC Milan face a resurgent Lazio

AC Milan v Lazio, Serie A, March 28, 2010

AC Milan 1.67; Draw 3.41; Lazio 5.12

We must win against Lazio. We have to train well and win. That’s the only path for us. The race is open, we can cut the gap on Roma or Inter but we must absolutely pick up the three points against Lazio who are on form.” – Pippo Inzaghi.

Like complete cowards, AC Milan look like they’ve bottled it this season. Just a week ago the Rossoneri were full of spirit having closed the gap on former runaway league leaders Inter to just one point. They had the chance to go top when they faced Napoli last Sunday, but they could only draw. And then on Wednesday night things worsened dramatically as Milan fell 1-nil away at Palermo to slip back into third in the table.

Making matters worse for Milan is their horrendous absentee list.

Milan’s shaky defence has been further reduced by injuries, with Alessandro Nesta undergoing surgery on his damaged knee tendon, Daniele Bonera struggling with a muscular problem, while Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonini have also been missing recently through injury. Those problems have forced Leonardo into playing horror-show Giuseppe Favalli and past-it old-timers Massimo Oddo and Gianluca Zambrotta.

Poor Milan are also heading into Sunday’s match with their strike-force decimated. The Rossoneri will be without arguably their three most important players with Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo both suspended while Alexandre Pato remains a long-term injury victim.

So who is available?

Marco Borriello, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Pippo Inzaghi are all available to lead the Milan attack, while veteran Clarence Seedorf will be responsible for trying to boss the game in the middle of the pitch. Elsewhere, Gennaro Gattuso and Mathieu Flamini will hope to bring battling qualities to the home midfield.

While Milan are stuttering, Lazio arrive to the San Siro on the back on two successive wins that has breathed life back into the Romans ambitions to beat the drop. (2.01 on Lazio or the draw.)

Lazio have put a large part of their relegation crisis behind them with victory over SIena in the week, when Julio Cruz came off the bench to score the winner. The match also saw Mauro Zarate’s two-match ban had expired, so he returned although Sergio Floccari, Ousmane Dabo, Mourad Meghni, Pasquale Foggia, Christian Manfredini, Francelino Matuzalem, Sebastiano Siviglia and the suspended Giuseppe Biava missed out.

Up front,  28-year-old Sergio Floccari is back scoring as he netted the second goal against Cagliari last weekend. When fit, Floccari, who has looked good since joining Lazio in January, has shown himself capable of steering Lazio into the light, and his goals will be vital again as the Aquile try to upset Milan.

The history books are against the visitors this weekend. While Lazio are in decent nick at present, they haven’t won three back-to-back matches in over a year, and they incredibly haven’t beaten Milan in the league, either home or away, since February 1998. But many

101gg predicts: AC Milan 1 – Lazio 1

AC Milan 1.67; Draw 3.41; Lazio 5.12