After only just playing on Monday, Lazio host Empoli on Thursday. However, the home side will be fueled by the fact they can move to fourth in the Serie A.
Lazio v Empoli
Thursday 7th February, 19:30
Simone Inzaghi’s side will be tiring playing two games in four days. Coming off of a 1-0 away win on Monday against Frosinone, the Biancocelesti can move into Champions League places with a home win on Thursday. Before their defeat to Juve in their last match at the Stadio Olimpico, Lazio had not lost there since October against Inter.
Despite being solid at home, the Roman side has been vulnerable to teams in the top four of the Serie A. They have lost to Inter, Napoli, Juve and drew against AC Milan at home. On the other hand, Lazio have shown themselves capable against the other teams in Serie A as they have picked up five wins at home against sides lower than them in the league. Lazio won the reverse fixture against Empoli 1-0 in September.
Lazio haven’t found it difficult to score this season at home. In the league, Lazio have averaged over a goal per game (1.79). However their shortcomings this season have come from losing goals. On average Lazio have conceded at least a goal per game at home (1.27). This has led to the team from the capital to draw three of their home matches, dropping six point at home.Lazio have picked up a clean sheet in only 18% of their home games and 73% of games have ended with both teams scoring.
The away side for this clash have not won away from home at all this season. Empoli’s away form has been a contributing factor to their low position in the league. Currently Giuseppe Iachini’s men sit in 17th in the Serie A, having won no away games, losing six and drawing against four.
Empoli have had a leaky defence in home and away matches this season, in twenty-two games they have only picked up two clean sheets and conceded the joint highest amount of goals this season at forty-four goals. A stat they share with bottom side Chievo. Keeping the side above the drop zone is it’s ability to score goals. Between the bottom seven teams in the Serie A, Empoli are the highest scorers, scoring twenty-seven in the league.
The main producer of the goals this season for Empoli is Francesco Caputo. With eleven league goals this season, the striker is sixth in the Serie A goal scoring charts. He is equal with Lazio’s top goal scorer Ciro Immobile. The Empoli front-man is in good form going into the Lazio game having scored a brace against Chievo. Excluding him, the other Empoli players have been short on goals with the second highest scorer for the side scoring only three.
The home side have only one injury doubt for the game against Empoli. Adam Marusic is a doubt for this clash due to a knock picked up in the 1-0 win against Frosinone. Apart from this there are no other real concerns, Lazio will still be without Jordan Lukaku and Luis Felipe who they have been without for their last couple of games.
For Empoli, the away side will be without Lorenzo Polvani due to a long term knee injury. Also, Antonio La Gumina is a doubt for this as the striker is recovering from a thigh injury which has kept him out of the last three games.
Lazio have shown they can deal with teams from the lower end of the Serie A when playing at home, only losing home games when the division’s top teams visit. The bookies price Lazio as strong favourites for the game at odds of 1/3 compared to Empoli’s price to win the game at 8/1.
Despite the strong likelihood of a home win, people betting on this game must be mindful of Lazio’s conceding record. Lazio often score as many as they concede so making a bet with a handicap bet added on is risky. Lazio -1 gets a price of 10/11. With goals possibly coming from the two sides, Lazio and both teams to score priced at 13/8 would be more valuable.
Another market to be mindful of is the result and over 2.5 goals market. For Lazio to score and Over 2.5 goals the bookies give you odds of 8/11. In home, Lazio average three goals per game at home between the home and away side. Caputo’s strong scoring form would give credence to Empoli scoring on Thursday.
Lazio to win and over 2.5 goals (8/11)
Lazio to win and both teams to score (13/8)