With the third and final Champions League place seemingly out of sight once and for all, Milan must now turn their attention to ensuring they remain on course for a place in next season's Europa League. Roma's recent upturn in form has seen them pull away from the chasing pack, leaving as many as five teams fighting it out for a place in Europe's second-tier competition next season. Whilst there is still some distance between Milan in sixth place and Sassuolo in seventh, their loss to the Neroverdi and last weekend's draw away to Chievo have ensured that Milan's position is hardly secure going into this final stretch of Serie A fixtures.
All nine of the Rossoneri's remaining fixtures are must-win matches, and one club who'll be looking to knock them down a peg are Lazio. After finishing third last season, the Biancocelesti have endured a torrid season that currently sees them in eighth place and some way off qualifying for European competition of any kind. Add to this the toxic atmosphere around the club as of late and the way in which they were unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa League by Sparta Prague on Thursday, and Milan couldn't have asked for a better time to face the Aquile. The reverse fixture at the Stadio Olimpico in November exemplified this as Milan walked away with a comfortable 3-1 win. Lazio caused Milan very few problems on that occasion, and despite recent results, the Rossoneri should still be considered the favourites for this match.
Milan's problems as of late have owed much to injuries, suspensions and the poor form of certain individuals. Much will be made of Gianluigi Donnarumma's absence following a collision during the Chievo match, but Juraj Kucka's injury will ultimately prove more costly. Milan have struggled without Kucka's energetic, hardworking performances in the midfield. Andrea Bertolacci and Andrea Poli don't offer anything close to the same level of quality and determination as the Slovakian. Riccardo Montolivo will be back in the side, however, having served his suspension. The captain's performance against Lazio in November was crucial to Milan's victory, outperforming the highly rated Lucas Biglia in the same role. If he can turn in a similar performance this time around, it could be the difference between winning and losing. With Mario Balotelli seemingly out of chances at long last, Luiz Adriano looks set to return to the starting lineup in his place. If the Brazilian can finally gel with Carlos Bacca up top in these remaining matches, it could alleviate the damage done by M'Baye Niang's injury.
Regardless of either side's form, however, Milan should absolutely treat Lazio as the threat they looked this time last year as their squad is still a very strong one. The greatest danger for Milan is that posed by Lazio's wide men, Antonio Candreva, Felipe Anderson and Keita Balde Diao, who can all cause problems for any side on their day. Mentally, however, Lazio are as fragile as can be. Milan should look to take advantage of that and secure all three points, especially playing at home.
Milan: 4-4-2 - Christian Abbiati; Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata, Alessio Romagnoli, Luca Antonelli; Keisuke Honda, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Bertolacci, Giacomo Bonaventura; Carlos Bacca, Luiz Adriano.
Lazio: 4-3-3 - Federico Marchetti; Abdoulay Konko, Mauricio, Wesley Hoedt, Stefan Radu; Sergej Milinkovic Savic, Lucas Biglia, Marco Parolo; Antonio Candreva, Filip Djordjevic, Keita Balde Diao.
How To Watch
Where: San Siro, Milan.
When: 8:45pm local, 3:45pm EST, 20th March 2016.
TV: Sky Calcio 1, Sky Supercalcio HD (Italy), BT Sport Europe (UK), RAI International
Online: BT Sport (UK), SKY Go Italia (Italy)
International listings can be viewed here.
Expect Lazio to continue their Europa League form and Milan to capitalise. Carlos Bacca should finally break his goal duck with Luiz Adriano adding one for good measure.
Milan 2-0 Lazio