Prediction: Lazio vs Atletico Madrid – Champions League – 19th September 2023

In a match that kicks off the fiercely contested Group E of the Champions League, Lazio and Atletico Madrid are poised to face each other at the revered Stadio Olimpico in Rome on the 19th of September, 2023 at 8 pm UK time. While Lazio is keen on rekindling their glorious European past, seasoned contenders Atletico Madrid are looking to make a resounding statement after their unexpected exit in last year’s group stage. This high-octane face-off is brimming with narratives, including Diego Simeone’s return to his old stomping ground.

Analysis:

At the onset of the 2023-24 season, both Lazio and Atletico Madrid have shown flashes of brilliance, albeit accompanied by some inconsistencies.

Lazio, under the stewardship of Maurizio Sarri, has demonstrated their prowess, especially with their significant win over Italian champions Napoli. This victory, however, stands as a beacon amidst a slightly concerning start, marked by defensive frailties that have seen them concede at an alarming rate. With just three points from four Serie A matches, their journey has been somewhat rocky, marked by back-to-back losses to Lecce and Genoa. However, history is on their side as they embark on this campaign; their previous Champions League outing in 2020-21 saw them making it past the group stage before succumbing to Bayern Munich in the last 16. Sarri is expected to shake things up in the midfield with potential starts for summer signings Matteo Guendouzi and Daichi Kamada, bolstering their attacking options led by the dependable Ciro Immobile.

AD:

On the other side, Atletico Madrid, despite their powerhouse status in the Champions League, are entering this fixture with a few chinks in their armor. Their recent shocking 3-0 loss to Valencia in the La Liga may have slightly dented their morale. Adding to their woes are significant injury issues with Thomas Lemar being the latest casualty, expected to be sidelined for several months. Even with these setbacks, the squad managed by Diego Simeone is not to be underestimated. The team harbors ambitions for a fourth final appearance, drawing from their experiences in 2014 and 2016 where they were runners-up. Players like Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann will be expected to steer the team forward, with Pablo Barrios providing solidity in the midfield.

AD:

The historical context of this match cannot be ignored, with Diego Simeone making a return to Lazio, a club where he once achieved significant glory as a player. The emotional resonance of this reunion might spur on both teams to deliver a match to remember.

Prediction:

Goal.mu predicts: Lazio 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Given the present circumstances, Atletico Madrid seems to have the slight edge over Lazio. Despite their recent setback against Valencia, their overall squad depth and experience in the Champions League positions them as favourites. Lazio, while having the home advantage, has shown defensive vulnerabilities that might be exploited by Atletico’s potent attack. Hence, a narrow win for Atletico Madrid seems a plausible outcome, signaling a potential resurgence in their Champions League campaign.

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