25 November 2006

Lazio - Ascoli preview

Lazio (15 pts, 10th place)
Ascoli (5 pts, 18th place)
15:00 CET (9:00 AM EDT)
Sun, Nov 26
Stadio Olimpico, Roma

US TV: FSC (live)

Lazio returns to the Olimpico looking to continue its goal-scoring spree and win streak. Even though the biancocelesti will not be at full strength, they will be facing a struggling Ascoli side. Despite holding the 18th spot in the classifica, Ascoli has earned the fewest points of any Serie A squad this season. (The two teams below them are Fiorentina at 4 pts and Reggina at 0 pts. However, they each were penalized 15 points from the outset and have earned 19 and 15 points respectively.)

As such, Lazio should have no concern, except that they will be playing without two key performers: Massimo Oddo and Christian Ledesma. By league rule (which I was previously unfamiliar with), players earn a one-game suspension upon accumulating 4 yellow cards, regardless of when they were administered. Oddo and Ledesma both did just that in last Sunday's match against Messina and will be forced to sit out. Kataweb reports that in their places Delio Rossi will start Belleri and Baronio. As long as Belleri does not cave as he did the last time he had to play in Oddo's post, the new 4-3-1-2 look of Lazio should hold well, and Ascoli should pose no real threat. A projected lineup:


Rocch and Makinwa each had injury troubles in practice this week, and it will be a gametime decision to see who starts and who enters the match late. Expect to see both of them playing, though.

Prediction: Lazio 3-1 Ascoli. The offense will continue to produce, perhaps not at the previous rate, and the absence of Oddo will let one through.


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