Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Serie A clash between Monza and Lecce, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Still unbeaten this season, Lecce travel north to Monza this weekend, as they resume their Serie A campaign on Sunday afternoon.
Following the international break, the Salentini aim to build on a run of three wins from four in all competitions; meanwhile, Monza have won just once so far.
After starting the 2023-24 season by exiting the Coppa Italia to lower-tier opposition, then losing 2-0 to Inter in their first Serie A fixture, Monza picked up their first points at home to Empoli before stumbling into the international break.
Raffaele Palladino‘s men found themselves two goals down at the interval against regional rivals Atalanta BC, and an eventual 3-0 defeat left them empty-handed as they took the short trip home from Bergamo.
There will be no major concern for fans of the Biancorossi just yet, as their team have only been beaten by two likely top-four challengers in Serie A, but victory would now be welcome before next week’s tough test against Lazio.
While the visit of Lecce, on paper, should provide an opportunity to add to their modest points tally so far, Monza have actually lost three of their last four meetings with the southern side, drawing the other.
After a 1-1 draw down at Stadio Via del Mare this time last year, the visitors took all three points when the teams last met in Lombardy – a 1-0 Lecce victory in May, when Lorenzo Colombo struck from the spot some 11 minutes into second-half stoppage time.
Colombo has since switched sides, with the Milan striker moving on loan to Monza this summer following a season-long spell at Lecce; but in his absence, the Salentini have thrived and are surprisingly among the early pace-setters in Italy’s top flight.
Having staged a memorable fightback to beat Lazio on the opening day, Lecce have gone on to accrue seven points from their first three league fixtures – a club record.
After holding Fiorentina and getting the better of Salernitana just before international football intervened, coach Roberto D’Aversa could now lead his new club to their best performance in the first four matches of a Serie A season by seeing off Monza this weekend.
The Giallorossi – who have scored nine goals in their last five league matches, as many as in their previous 15 – would therefore move on to a tally of 10 points, which is two more than they posted at this stage back in 2004.
Former Parma boss D’Aversa took charge when Marco Baroni left after fighting a successful relegation battle last season, and having recruited Nikola Krstovic to replace Colombo up front, the young striker’s promising start to life in Lecce has boosted hopes of a less bumpy ride this term.
Monza Serie A form:
Monza form (all competitions):
Lecce Serie A form:
Lecce form (all competitions):
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Only ex-Inter defender Danilo D’Ambrosio (knee) is a major injury doubt for Monza this week, so coach Raffaele Palladino has plenty of options available should he wish to make changes following the 3-0 defeat to Atalanta last time out.
Therefore, Dany Mota‘s place up front could be under threat from Lorenzo Colombo, who scored five times on loan at Lecce last season – including the dramatic winner in the clubs’ most recent meeting.
Among players who have neither scored nor assisted in Serie A this term, no one has been involved in more shots than the hosts’ Gianluca Caprari (five shots and nine chances created) and Lecce’s Ylber Ramadani (11 and three). Both should start on Sunday, with the latter featuring in the visitors’ three-man midfield.
At the centre of the Salentini’s attacking trident, Nikola Krstovic should be fit to play, despite coming off injured during the first half of Montenegro’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Bulgaria.
The 23-year-old will be aiming to become the first Lecce player to score in the first three matches of a Serie A season since Mirko Vucinic and Valeri Bojinov did so back in 2004.
Monza possible starting lineup:
Di Gregorio; Izzo, Mari, Caldirola; Birindelli, Gagliardini, Pessina, Ciurria; Colpani, Caprari; Colombo
Lecce possible starting lineup:
Falcone; Gendrey, Baschirotto, Pongracic, Gallo; Kaba, Ramadani, Rafia; Strefezza, Krstovic, Almqvist
We say: Monza 2-1 Lecce
Lecce’s undefeated streak could reach its end on Sunday, if Monza’s able front line click into gear and make the most of their opportunities. Putting a halt to their drought in this match-up, the Biancorossi should just have the edge over their in-form visitors on this occasion.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.