City rivals Roma and Lazio will face off in the Derby della Capitale this Sunday evening for the second time this season, with just a single point separating the two sides.
With both clubs seemingly out of the race for Champions League qualification, this fixture will play a significant part in who will claim the remaining two European competition spots.
Game date: Sunday, 20 March
Kick-off time: 18:00 CET / 1:00 EDT
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: Irrati (VAR: Di Paolo)
Roma enters the match on an eight-match unbeaten streak but have won just half of such games. The Giallorossi were in action last Thursday in the Europa Conference league against Vitesse, and they came away with a 1-1 draw thanks to a late equalizer from Tammy Abraham. Their one-goal lead from the first leg will see them face off against FK Bodø/Glimt in the quarter-finals. Roma are still one of the favourites to win the trophy in the competition’s inaugural season despite their recent drop in form.
A stoppage-time equalizer from Lorenzo Pellegrini was needed to salvage a 1-1 against Udinese in what otherwise was another poor display from the Giallorossi. José Mourinho will have a fully fit squad at his disposal, excluding left-back Leonardo Spinazzola. It remains to be seen whether the players will have some fatigue from Thursday’s match.
Roma form (all competitions): D W W W D D
Probable Roma XI (4-2-3-1):
Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Cristante, Mkhitaryan, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraham
Lazio will look to win both league fixtures in a season against Roma for the first time since 2012. Maurizio Sarri’s side have scored the second-most goals in the league so far and have managed to solve their defensive dilemmas in the last few months. Only Real Sociedad have kept more clean sheets than Lazio (6) across the top five European leagues this year.
The Biancoceleste have already been eliminated from both the Coppa Italia and Europa League, meaning that their full attention will go towards depriving Roma of a European competition spot. Ciro Immobile currently leads the Capocannoniere race with 21 goals and scored the only goal in the victory over Venezia last Monday. Sarri will be without experienced defender Ștefan Radu and midfielder Danilo Cataldi as both remain out on the sidelines.
Lazio form (all competitions): L D D L W W
Probable Lazio XI (4-3-3):
Strakosha; Lazzari, Felipe, Acerbi, Marusic; Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Pedro
➤ In 177 official meetings between Roma and Lazio, the Giallorossi have won 66 matches compared to their rivals’ 48 victories.
➤ Lazio won the reverse fixture 3-2 with goals coming from Sergej Milinković-Savić, Ciro Immobile, and Felipe Anderson.
➤ Four out of the last five meetings between the two sides have ended with two or three goals.
➤ Roma have lost just 3 of 15 home matches in Serie A this season.
With just a single point separating José Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri’s sides, this fixture may prove to be vital in the battle for a European qualification come June. Lazio enter the match as favourites and we expect them to come away with three points. Expect a close encounter with a few goals that may only be separated by individual errors.
Prediction: Roma 1-2 Lazio