There are some good games this upcoming round in Serie A; Inter-Napoli, Atalanta-Juventus, and Torino-Sampdoria. However, this weekend’s marquee matchup is the Rome Derby: Roma-Lazio. There is no love loss between the two capital clubs or their fans and Sunday’s game figures to be special.
This could be Francesco Totti’s final Rome Derby. It remains to be seen if Spalletti will play Totti; the man that has represented Roma for well over 20 years and has become synonymous with Roma. Spalletti and Totti have had their ill feelings, but surely Spalletti will give Totti some playing time, right? Roma are entrenched in a battle with Napoli for second place (automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage), so Spalletti doesn’t have too much time for sentimental feelings.
Roma will enter Sunday’s game in terrific form; they are unbeaten in their last six games, having won five of those. Lazio enter in pretty good form themselves, only losing one of their last eleven games in Serie A. When these two sides met back on December 4th, Roma won 2-0. Roma and Lazio have met more recently in the Coppa Italia semifinals back in March and April. Over those two legs, Lazio emerged successfully to advance to the Coppa Italia final, where they will face Juventus. Lazio would love to move up to third place, and have a shot at the Champions League. However a spot in the Europa League appears more likely for Lazio.
These two Rome based clubs have a lot more in common than the city and stadium they share. Both clubs having a leading hitman; Roma has Edin Dzeko (25 goals) and Lazio has Ciro Immobile (20 goals). Both capital clubs have strong midfields, which feature the likes of De Rossi, Nainggolan, Biglia, and Paolo. The wing play should be outstanding in this one between Mohamed Salah, Diego Perotti, Felipe Anderson, and Keita.
In recent head-to-head play, Roma has the overwhelming advantage. Over their last six meetings, Roma has won five of them, compared to Lazio’s one win. In those six games, Roma has outscored Lazio 12-6.
Plenty of intrigue heading into this weekend’s Rome Derby. Perhaps the biggest intrigue is whether or not Spalletti gives Totti playing time in what could very well be the legend’s final one.
Roma’s projected lineup: Szczesny; Rudiger, Manolas, Fazio, Emerson; De Rossi, Strootman; Salah, Nainggolan, El Shaarawy; Dzeko
Lazio’s projected lineup: Strakosha; Bastos, De Vrij, Wallace; Basta, Parolo, Biglia, Milinkovic, Lulic; Felipe Anderson, Immobile