Saturday the big day arrives a day in Rome where the entire city shuts down for 90 minutes. There is nothing in the city more important then Derby Day. The Rome Derby is also known as Derby Della Capitale. The local Derby between arch-rivals Roma and Lazio hatred between them that stretches through generations. The Rome Derby is considered one of the most violence aggressive and importance derbies in World football. No Derby in the world holds more important on Supremacy in the city. Roma Lazio, it’s never about winning the league although that is the ultimate goal that is not the most important part of the season. The sole purpose is to win the Derby. In Rome the Derby more than any other city in the world. As a romanista myself this is something I have seen every season. It means so much to the players and the city itself. It’s not about We Are the Champions of Italy it’s about we finished ahead of them. It is vile it is cruel it is dangerous and it’s exciting. Lazio fans and Roma hate each other and that is always going to be the case we wouldn’t want it any other way it is what makes it so enticing because the hatred of these two teams is it very real. This is not just a football match, in fact, this not even sport winning the Derby is the reason to be proud which is why this fixture means more than any game this season. Personally, I don’t usually get too personal when I’m making an assessment of a game but there’s nothing in this world I hate more this Lazio Football Club. I hate their color I hate their logo I hate their players I hate their management I hate everything about them. If you’re over Lazio fan you feel the same about Roma. Since 1927 they have played 186 times Roma currently lead this historic fixture with 71 wins to Lazio’s 52 wins as well as 53 draws. Roma has dominated their City Rivals for some time since Italian football’s Inception they have finished ahead of they’re noisy neighbors 68 times. Make no mistake this is Roma’s City however when these two teams play doesn’t matter how many points each team has or how well they’re playing there’s nothing drives a player more than winning the Derby. Roma hasn’t lost the season series since 2011 and has a great chance on Saturday night to sweep them again. Roma won the first meeting earlier in the season which was a Lorenzo Pellegrini led victory as Roma won 3-1 proving this is their city. Roma hasn’t lost a game since January and are on 9 game unbeaten run in the league and find themselves on a 4 game win streak. Sitting just a point from fourth with the opportunity to kick Lazio out of the Champions League race Saturday night but Lazio has a chance on their own to get back into it. This is no Rivalry this a WORLD WAR as it resumes on prime time in two days time.
Ahead of the derby on Saturday Roma has some injury updates. Kostas Manolas picked up an injury last week and it appears it is not that severe and could start the derby in a Roma’s defense. If he is unable to go Davie Santon is likely to take his place in the starting lineup if necessary. However, the way things look now is he should be ready for Lazio on Saturday. Cengiz Under appears to be day to day with his injury he could start on the bench but he’s unlikely to start the match as he is not quite 100%. Other than that everyone else should be there and ready for this much important match. In the derby, we could see an adjustment in the formation. I still think Eusebio di Francesco will set his team up out of the 4-3-3 formation but I think there’s a slight possibility he could go back to the 4-2-3-1. If Kostas Manolas can play we should see Roma’s typical starting defense fully intact. With Alex Kolarov and Alexandro Florenzi on the defensive wings and Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio being paired at center-back. In the Midfield we should see Roma’s Captain Daniele de Rossi in the Centre position. With Rising Star Nicolo Zaniolo and Bryan Cristante occupying both sides. In Roma’s attack in their three-headed monster I suspect it will be exactly identical to what we saw last week. On the left-wing Stephan El Shaarawy should be ready after a two-assist performance on Sunday. Then on the right-wing should be Lorenzo Pellegrini who was the hero of the derby last time around and his keen for another Super performance. Then up front Roma’s most dangerous assets Edin Dzeko coming off a two-goal performance last week which included a 95th-minute winner he is the key player to watch in this matchup given the momentum and the confidence he is playing with he is going to be a huge problem.
Over the last few weeks based on what we’ve seen of from Lazio I suspect they will stay in their defensive lineups coming out of the 3-5-2. Lazio cannot afford to lose this game A lost here will pretty much end their chance at Champions League football next season. I’m not sure if that’s the only reason why they picked this formation as of late but it could be a contributing factor. Lazio Captain Radu will miss this game with suspension after receiving a red card in a previous match. This may cause some concern because of the injury to Jordan Lukaku as well they may have limited options for that spot which is why they are probably packing the Midfield. Patric & Acerbi because of the injury will play key roles and Lazio’s defensive. In Lazio’s Midfield we could potentially a 5-men spread of Marusic, Romelu, Badeji, Lucas & Milinkovic-Savic. Then up front, we are likely to see the pairing of Ciro Immobile and Correa I am unsure what the situation is with Luis Alberto but he has not played the last several games and there has been no indication that he’s going to start the match. If he is fit and ready to play my guess is Alberto will fill in for Correa in the attack with Ciro. The key player in this match is Ciro Immobile even though he is not scoring at the moment at least to the level he scored the last season he still is Lazio most dangerous player who is a fear to score on an almost regular basis he will need to be stopped or limited by the Roma defense which is going to be a very tall task.
The meaning of this game for these teams does not need to be described or mentioned these players know it’s within their bones that the Derby is everything. I don’t need to go over and again let’s look at these teams and see what their chances are in this historic Derby. Roma has dominated this fixture and yet again I think they come into this game as favorites. Roma has not lost since January and are winners of their last four and unbeaten in the league in their last nine. To cap it off they are coming off a very dramatic an exciting win last weekend. Edin Dzeko 95th minute goal on Sunday gives them momentum coming into this important fixture. They stand just one point behind AC Milan for the final Champions League slot. Roma is rested have confidence and momentum. They are playing their best football of the season. Now they have the opportunity to essentially eliminate their rivals from the Champions League race with a win everything is going in their Direction and should come in this game as a slight favorite. Lazio played 90 minutes of football midweek in the Coppa Italia semi-finals and have recently been eliminated from the Europa League after losing to Sevilla not to mention they lost their last league game against Genoa. This team does not have confidence in them right now and that could be a problem. They do not have the rest Roma has which automatically gives them the disadvantage. However was all that being said even though they’re not playing particularly well as of late they have the players and a team good enough to pull off the upset? Like we see in every Derby league position is thrown out it is a battle between two Roman clubs who cannot stand each other. It is likely that Lazio will come out with a very defensive team which could be a strategy and trying to limit opportunities because Rome has less than spectacular defense. Immobile has the skills to break it down and score goals while limiting opportunities from Roma. Both these teams will be ready for this match and try to step on each other’s throats. Lazio’s five-man Midfield may limit opportunities but Roma has the weapons to counter their style of play. El Shaarawy has the speed and athletic ability to disrupt their plan of attack. You add that to intelligent passing abilities of Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini and you have a big problem. That’s not even to mention Daniele De Rossi has played at this match countless times and has played his role incredibly well he will limit the counter-attack as much as possible. Lazio has a proven finisher and Roma have an underwhelming defense because of this the defensive Midfield abilities of the De Rossi could make things more difficult than they should be. Not to mention Roma may have Kostas Manolas back which makes their defense a little stronger even though it does have its issues. Then on top of that Roma have a brilliant goalkeeper who’s capable of stopping the attack Lazio will put upon them. On the other hand, their defense is a serious issue if they can break through they can be dangerous not to mention Lazio also have an incredible goalkeeper that can make things difficult. However, with all that being said, I believe this game will come down to one important matchup Edin Dzeko and Ciro Immobile. Edin Dzeko isn’t pretty incredible form right now and is just starting to catch fire he is coming off a two-goal performance last week and has all the ability to do that again. With Radu out of the Lazio defense for this match, Edin Dzeko has the physical Presence Power and finishing ability to bury them. If Lazio is unable to neutralize him or slow him down then it’s game over. On the other hand, Roma’s defense needs to try to counter the speed of Immobile who’s capable of scoring goals while being guarded by multiple Defenders. Roma needs to find a way to disrupt his rhythm all it takes is one chance for him to bury you. With all that being said I suspect Roma will be motivated to knock their Rivals out of the Champions League race and I think they are playing incredible football right now and have not lost in quite some time it is going to be tough like these Derbies always are but Roma will find a way to once again prove their superiority in this city.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-3-3
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alexandro Florenzi
MID: Bryan Cristante, Danielle De Rossi, Nicolo Zaniolo
Front Three: Lorenzo Pellegrini, Edin Dzeko, Stephen El Shaarawy
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Lazio’s Projected starting XI 3-5-2
DEF: Patric ,Acerbi,Wallace
Strikers: Immobile, Correa
Manager: Simone Inzagi
Players to Watch
Date: Saturday March 2nd, 2019
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kickoff: 1:30PM (USA) 7:30PM (ENG),8:30PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, ESPN+