Lazio v Ateltico Madrid 18:00 Thurs
One of this week’s most promising Europa League fixtures will undoubtedly be Thursday’s first-leg clash between Lazio and Atletico Madrid , as Paddy Power make the Biancocelesti odds against, as former star Diego Simeone returns to the Stadio Olimpico as manager for the first time since taking over at Atletico.
The hosts are currently in third position in Serie A and with four wins in their last six matches, Lazio look assured to land fourth place and a European spot, if not better.
Atletico aren’t having as good a season domestically when compared with Thursday’s opposition, however former Lazio star Diego Simeone’s side will no doubt provide a threat to the Lazio home record, which hasn’t registered a league loss since November.
Despite their respective league inferiority, the Madrid side are hitting a good string of form exactly when they need to and have now gone unbeaten in their last six outings and the side remain unbeaten under the leadership of the former Biancocelesti star.
A great deal of Atletico’s attacking form has gone through summer signing Radamel Falcao and although the striker is being linked with moves to numerous European outfits, the Colombian will nonetheless be focused on adding to this season’s goal tally which currently stands at 17. Diego Godin and Joao Miranda should return to to strengthen the Spanish side at the back after missing the goalless draw on the weekend against Santander.
Lazio boast some attacking threats of their own however and manager Edoardo Reja will be looking at Miroslav Klose in particular to carry on his impressive attacking form as he is without the services of Stefan Radu, midfielders Christian Brocchi, Lorik Cana, Stefano Mauri and Emiliano Alfaro. Club captain Tommaso Rocchi, also misses the tie through injury.
The Biancocelesti are currently on course to improve well upon last season’s 5th place Serie A finish but will keen to gain an advantage over Atletico Madrid at the Stadio Olimpico before the two team’s second-leg fixture later on in the month.