- It’s Matchday 21 in Serie A and it’s also the Rome Derby
- Lazio start as slight favorites as they chase Juve and Inter for the title
- Roma looking to retain pole position for fourth Champions League place
It’s third vs fourth in Serie A this weekend, and it’s also the second Rome derby of the season. It all kicks off on Sunday, January 26 at 12:00 pm EST in the Stadio Olimpico.
We’ll preview the game and see if we can identify some good bets.
Roma vs Lazio Madrid Odds
|Roma||pk +100||+176||O 3 -110|
|Lazio||pk -120||+148||U 3 -110|
All odds taken Jan. 24
No Cup Success for Rome’s Finest
With both Roma and Lazio getting knocked out of the Coppa Italia this week at the quarterfinal stage, Sunday’s Derby della Capitale, as it’s known, becomes a chance for both to return to winning ways. It’s also a chance for Roma to close the seven-point gap that exists between the two teams or for Lazio to continue their fine run in the league and put pressure on the top two of Juventus and Inter Milan.
When the two teams met back in September, when Lazio was the ‘home’ team (they share the same stadium), they drew 1-1 but it was a scoreline that didn’t tell the full story. It was an evening dominated by Lazio, who hit the woodwork no less than four times, and Roma counted themselves lucky to escape with a point.
Fonseca’s Stamp is Now on the Roma Team
But since then, Roma, under the stewardship of Paulo Fonseca, has improved massively and the team that takes on Lazio on Sunday will have a very different look and feel to it. The ex-Premier League pairing of Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been added since and back then the new manager was still trying to find his best XI and formation. By contrast, Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio team has been three years in the making.
It was an evening dominated by Lazio, who hit the woodwork no less than four times, and Roma counted themselves lucky to escape with a point.
For Roma, Sunday’s game will be a useful indicator of the progress they have made under Fonseca although it’s worth noting they have had to survive a crippling injury crisis over the last few months. They’ve had to do without the services of Justin Kluivert, who has only just returned from a thigh strain, and this weekend it is touch and go whether star midfielder Amadou Diawara will make it. In the longer term, they have lost Nicolo Zaniolo for the rest of the season with an ACL rupture.
— S.S.Lazio (@OfficialSSLazio) January 22, 2020
Immobile on the Goal Trail Again
For Lazio, injury problems have been less of an issue but in midweek they were without the influential Luis Alberto, who leads the Serie A stats for chances created and assists. They will be desperately hoping that he is fit for the weekend and that he can quickly rediscover his almost telepathic understanding with the league’s top scorer, Ciro Immobile.
Lazio will also be hoping their other midfield creator, Lorenzo Pellegrini, is healthy for the weekend. He missed a month through injury but it’s no coincidence his return to the team has resulted in an improved form.
Roma vs Lazio Head-to-Head
|4th||Position in Serie A||3rd|
|11 / 20||Wins / No. of games||14 / 19|
|37 / 1.85||Goals scored / Per game||46 / 2.42|
|22 / 1.1||Goals conceded / Per game||18 / 0.95|
|4||No. of losses||2|
|2||Serie A titles||3|
Dzeko Carries the Goalscoring Burden
For Roma, the key man remains Edin Dzeko. The club’s only other out-and-out striker is Nikola Kalinic, but the Croatian has gone a whole year without a goal, so the responsibility remains with Dzeko to deliver. The Bosnian has scored eight goals so far this season – a modest return by his high standards – but he brings more to the Roma party than goals alone. His ability to be the attacking focal point and bring others into play is vital for them. He plays well, Roma play well.
Immobile, by contrast, has scored 23 times – nearly three times as many as Dzeko – but has a more creative midfield behind him and Lazio’s style is less reliant on a back-to-goal/target-man type striker.
Seven Clear and With Juve in Their Sights
The seven-point lead Lazio have over Roma looks healthy enough – even a defeat would still leave them more than a win clear of their fierce rivals – and there’s also the small matter of them having a game in hand, but the next fortnight is crucial for them, with leaders Juventus having upcoming trips to Naples and Florence. If Lazio’s title challenge is a serious one they cannot afford to slip up.
56' | Save from Buffon! He gets down to deny Florenzi inside the box!
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 22, 2020
No Goal-Fest at the Olimpico
For Roma, it’s more a case of battling for the bragging rights and keeping alive their realistic chance of a Champions League place for next season. With Atalanta breathing down their necks, they too are under pressure not to slip up.
So, don’t expect a goal-fest. This will be tight and probably decided, if indeed it is decided, by a goal either way. I just happen to think that Lazio has that extra bit of quality that will see them edge it and have more goals in them spread across the team.
Pick: Lazio to win 1-0 (+1000)