Five Games to Watch

Five Games to Watch: Can Lazio announce themselves as title contenders vs Inter?

That is one of two mouthwatering Serie A clashes, as Atalanta take on Roma in the race for the top four also

 
9:00am on Friday 14th February 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Here is what we have to look forward to this weekend...

LAZIO v INTER

Sunday 16th February, 1945 GMT

Although not necessarily going under the radar as they have been on a phenomenal domestic run, Lazio haven't yet been considered as real title contenders this season, despite them being just one point behind reigning champions, Juventus, and Inter.

However, they have the opportunity to truly announce themselves as a threat to both Juve and current leading side Inter when they face the Nerazzurri at the Stadio Olimpico.

Inter and Juve have exchanged the top position a few times over the past few weeks, while Lazio have steadily been picking up points to remain 18 Serie A games unbeaten following the 1-0 win against Parma.

The last two matches between the pair have been extremely tight, with Inter narrowly winning 1-0 at San Siro in September after a goal from Danilo D'Ambrosio, while Lazio won the previous match the previous season 1-0 away at San Siro.

This one could be decided not only by sturdy defences, which they have, but the chances created for two of the most in-form strikers in Europe in Ciro Immobile and Romelu Lukaku.

PLAYER TO WATCH

29 yrs - ST (C) - Lazio
93
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1922
Played matches
23
25
6
Shots P90
4.35
Shots On target P90
2.15
Successful passing %
76%
Final third passes P90
14.28

It is harsh on Lazio to say they are a one-man team as they certainly are not, but take Immobile out of the equation and you are taking the vast majority of goals out their team. If Inter's three-man backline can handle the Italian, they could emerge as winners.

ATALANTA v ROMA

Saturday 15th February, 1945 GMT

Staying with Serie A now, and while Inter v Lazio will have title ramifications, this potentially cracking encounter between Atalanta and Roma could have a big say in who claims the fourth and final Champions League qualifying position.

Atalanta currently hold fourth place, three points ahead of Roma who have lost their last two games in the league against Sassuolo and Bologna, conceding seven over both to drop down a position.

For a side who are looking nervous at the back in Roma, it won't bring any solace from the fact they are about to take on, by far, the league's best goalscoring outfit in Atalanta, who have netted 61 times in 23 matches. La Dea aren't great defensively either, so it is (hopefully) shaping up to be a high scoring affair.

Over the last two fixtures, there has been eight goals scored, including the two from Atalanta in the 2-0 away win at the Stadio Olimpico in September.

PLAYER TO WATCH

32 yrs - F, AM (C) - Atalanta
99
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1336
Played matches
19
14
3
Shots P90
4.58
Shots On target P90
2.16
Successful passing %
82%
Final third passes P90
28.31

Josip Ilicic has been one of the most entertaining players in Serie A this campaign, but has became not just a scorer of great goals, but a great goalscorer as he has netted 14 in 19.

CHELSEA v MAN UTD

Monday 17th February, 2000 GMT

From the Champions League qualifying race in Italy to England now, as Chelsea take on Man Utd at Stamford Bridge, hoping to further distance themselves from the Red Devils.

At the turn of the year, this would have had a much bigger bearing on the top four, but Man Utd's awful league form in 2020, which includes one win in five games, has seen them drop to eighth, while Chelsea continue to retain fourth despite Sheffield Utd breathing down their necks.

Neither side are in particularly great form, as Chelsea haven't won in three after a loss against Newcastle and consecutive draws versus Arsenal and Leicester.

They met each other in the first game of the season and it would prove to be an anomaly of a match as Man Utd impressed to win 4-0, while Chelsea were awful in Frank Lampard's first league fixture in charge.

The Blues agreed a deal to sign Hakim Ziyech during the week, but after no new signings in January, they'll have to make do with what they have until the maverick Moroccan arrives in the summer.

PLAYER TO WATCH

28 yrs - M, DM (C) - Chelsea
94
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
1771
Played matches
23
Touches P90
95.29
Interceptions P90
2.64
Duels won P90
4.68
Passes completed P90
70.94
Successful passing %
87%
Final third passes P90
24.39

With both sides a little low on confidence, it'll be important to remain calm in possession, and nobody will do that as well as Jorginho.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST v WEST BROM

Saturday 15th February, 1230 GMT

A few weeks ago, Leeds were looking upwards at potentially usurping West Brom to the top of the table. Now, however, they are looking over their shoulders at a chasing pack, which includes Nottingham Forest.

While the Baggies are now six points clear, there is just three points separating Leeds in second and Bristol City in seventh, meaning that every point will count between now and the end of the campaign.

West Brom have won three games in a row against Luton, Millwall, and Reading, while Forest's form is a bit sketchier as they have won two and lost two out of the last four.

Should Forest emerge victorious in this one, it is quite possible we could see a four or five-team title race.

PLAYER TO WATCH

32 yrs - S (C) - Notts Forest
68
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
2659
Played matches
31
16
1
Shots P90
2.30
Shots On target P90
0.95
Successful passing %
78%
Final third passes P90
6.84

Lewis Grabban has scored 16 goals in 31 games so far this season and remains Forest's best chance of grabbing a goal. However, he hasn't scored in three, so will be looking to get back on form.

DORTMUND v EINTRACHT FRANKFURT

Friday 14th February, 1930 GMT

Dortmund were disappointingly defeated 4-3 by Leverkusen in the game of the weekend last round, but can take heart from the fact that Bayern and RB Leipzig could only draw 0-0 thereafter.

They'll look to get back to winning ways at home, and although this one doesn't necessarily have big ramifications for both teams, with Frankfurt down in ninth, it makes our list because, well, it should be damn good fun.

Without putting the commentator's curse on this one - it should be raining goals at the Westfalenstadion. as BVB have scored 20 goals in their last five games, while Eintracht have netted 13 in that time.

Indeed, the last match between the pair was a belter which ended 2-2. Dortmund twice took the lead, but were pegged back by the home side for the second time in the 88th minute after an own goal from Thomas Delaney.

19 yrs - S (C) - Dortmund
88
Defending
Creative
Passing
Attacking
Shooting
Decisive
Aerials
Physical
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
226
Played matches
4
7
0
Shots P90
3.98
Shots On target P90
3.19
Successful passing %
82%
Final third passes P90
7.17

Who else? Everyone knew Erling Haaland would be a good signing for Dortmund, but nobody could have predicted how incredibly well he would hit the ground running.

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