Last night Roma and Lazio met in the Derby Della Capitale. A match that needs no explanation for its importance. Not only is it an iconic football in a rivalry and probably the most hated matchup in the sports this particular Derby held a great deal of importance. Lazio was coming off three consecutive losses falling 6 points behind Roma with a game in hand meaning they could potentially get within range of Roma with a win. Meanwhile for Roma who came into this game on a nine-game unbeaten streak could potentially move up to fourth with Inter Milan’s loss earlier. Not only that but could have stopped kicked Lazio out of the race for Champions League football. It was a momentous opportunity for Roma one that they certainly did not take. Roma is the better team but on Saturday night that did not make any difference. Lazio was in complete control as defensive deficiencies continue to be a major problem for Roma. Lazio took the early lead through Caicedo then made things almost insurmountable in the second half. A penalty converted by Ciro Immobile put the game out of reach and then as a death of the match Lazio got themselves a third following a Robin Olson mistake in what was a 3-0 victory against Roma’s rivals. Rome is blue at least temporarily as the competitiveness has reunited as the Roma clubs split the season series for the second time in three years after a disastrous showing from Roma who clearly did not show up for the match.
Lack of Creativity
One of the biggest issues from the match Saturday was a lack of creativity from Roma. The Romans did not provide practically anything going forward and had to sit back the majority of the match. This is uncharacteristic from this team this season they are in the top three and chances created and the number one team in terms of shots on target. Creating chances has never been the issue this season it has been converting them. From the very start of the match, they just left some stuff to be desired. Roma has talented players throughout the squad but still found it extremely difficult to even create anything that could be considered a legitimate chance on goal. Edin Dzeko had a great chance to end the first half but outside of that there really wasn’t much. Maybe it was a lineup issue and maybe it wasn’t but collectively they struggled to move the ball in a concrete intelligent way. This has to be corrected going into the Champions League this week they cannot allow themselves to descend away in Portugal. Roma needs creation that is why they got the lead in the first leg against Porto. This needs to be figured out and quickly we cannot see this team play with such an oblivious approach in creating chances. Normally this is what this team thrives at but on Saturday night I don’t know if it was the pressure of the Derby or the inexperience of the team but they were largely ineffective in creating anything this needs to be fixed and quickly because this is going to be a huge problem. You want to be able to play the Derby tough even if you go down don’t do it without a fight. Roma had all the momentum on their side and still struck out without any real resistance in terms of performance they created next to nothing and this is a large reason why they fell short
Derby Is becoming more balanced
After a dominating Lazio performance, it has made of this Derby more balanced at least over recent memory. Historically speaking Roma have come out on top a large portion of the time. Roma have won this Derby more times and they have lost and for a large chunk of time, it was very one-sided. In a 4 year span, Lazio did not win one Derby. Lazio has one beaten Roma twice in the last 12 meeting. Domestically Roma has the advantage and in terms of table positioning even though Lazio came close a few times for the most part Roma finish ahead of them in the table on a more regular basis. While that may be still true as it’s still been several years since the Lazio has finished above Roma in the standings in terms of the competitiveness of this Derby it has turned a new Leaf. It has been much more balanced in recent times. In two of the last three seasons, Roma and Lazio have split the season series. This shows that the gap isn’t as wide as it used to be. In a weird way, it is a very positive thing even though being a part of the Derby if you lose it is the most painful thing imaginable however in footballing terms this is exactly what you want you to want from two teams who hate each other with a burning passion. Over the next few years, this is going to be even more competitive than it has been as of late. Roma used to be in so much control of this Derby even though it was intense it was one-sided the playing field has been leveled. Roma still probably has enough ability to finish above Lazio this season and maybe going forward so that hasn’t changed yet. However, based on how this has become a more competitive I see that changing in the near future as well. Derbies are about proving to be the better team the Roman Derby is now more competitive than it has been in years. Both in terms of performance against each other and table positioning it will only fuel the hatred even further.
Breaches from Roma’s Backline
This has become more of a weekly discussion rather than a talking point but I have no choice but to bring this up again. Defensively Roma is just not good enough they are getting exposed to frequently and seemingly every week. I understand that Kosta Manolas did not play yesterday and he is without question the best defender on Roma’s back line and probably one of the best in the league. I honestly like the Defenders we have but they are not starters at least some of them. I do understand why Federico Fazio continues to get picked he is extremely long and big at 6 foot 5 very physical player but is not great with the ball at his feet. I think he’s an excellent option just not a regular starter. I would like to keep him at the club but Roma needs upgrades all over the place defensively. Same thing goes with Kolarov and Florenzi they are more attacking minded Defenders more than anything else. Roma needs to sign a 60 million valued Defender a legitimate force defensively if Roma can figure out their defense they can contend for the title. Roma is the second highest scoring team in Italian football with 49 goals the problem lies defensively they have conceded 36 goals which ranked 7th in the league. For a top-six team that is atrocious, it needs to be sorted there is no way around it that is where the money needs to go this summer it is so abundantly clear. Countless times Lazio were able to just cut through the defense with little to no resistance. Things are going to be difficult especially without Kostas Manolas but this defense cannot continue to make mistakes like they have Roma need a makeover defensively and until that happens I’m afraid this will continue to be an issue it’s almost like the attack needs to counter the defensive mistakes and sometimes that’s not able to happen that was the story on Saturday
Lazio’s Complete control
Lazio Saturday was in complete cruise control they dominated from the first kick of the ball to the conclusion of the match. Lazio were the underdogs going into this game and for very good reason from the analytical perspective there’s no reason why Lazio should have won this game. They dropped consecutive games against Sevilla in Europa League which lead to their elimination and also lost to Genoa. Prior to the derby they had lost three consecutive games and have been poor for the last month-and-a-half. That’s not to mention they played 90 minutes of football midweek against AC Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final. Lazio was not at full fitness Roma were completely rested and they got completely outclassed by the noisy neighbors down the road. They completely ripped them apart and most of the game their best player was sitting on the bench nursing an injury. This was not by any means their strongest line-up and they still managed to have a field day against a strong Roma team that simply did not show up for the match. Not only does this give them hope for Champions League football they take bragging rights with them as well which means so much in this city. Lazio have a game in hand meaning and they pick up three points in that match they will overtake Roma in the table as things stand. If they fail to deliver in games going forward then that whole idea is void but if they take care of business over the next few weeks and they win that game Lazio has a good chance to take their place in the standings. Even though it’s tight it could be tough to get champions league for either one of these teams and if they’re unable to do that the bragging rights will be who finished in front of whom. Lazio finishing ahead of Roma in the table they will take that with them all year. The meaning of the season is to win the Derby but if you don’t win the Derby at the very least finishing ahead of your Rivals is extremely important if Lazio is able to do that and make the Cup Final in the Coppa Italia it is going to make Roma fans and players feel unimaginable agony. Roma has finished ahead of Lazio in what seems like forever if they’re able to switch the narrative their performance was absolutely unbelievable they dominated in a game of such magnitude performance of complete and utter control.
Golden opportunity Wasted
An unbelievable golden opportunity was completely wasted Saturday night by Roma. Roma has been fighting all year to get into a Champions League spot because for much of this season it has looks like that is not going to happen. They’ve been knocking on the front door of champions league for months now without being able to maintain it. Coincidentally Inter Milan have been struggling and lost this weekend meaning if Roma beat Lazio in the derby they would finally overtake them. As well as having an earshot at the third place a win last night would have meant it only be one point behind AC Milan for third place. Getting third place this season would have been absolutely miraculous. Even though Roma were a better team last year the idea that they could have got 3rd again considering what they lost would have been unreal. It was all that sitting for them all they had to do is take care of business. Is it possible that Inter Milan will sink even further absolutely they have not been playing well lately and Marco Icardi isn’t playing for them. This gives them a great opportunity still to steal 4th place but this is going to be counted on and based upon the performances of Inter Milan it is not in their control they have to play for that spot had they won they could have claimed it and everything would have been totally different. Third place now looks almost impossible to grab because AC Milan is playing so well and now they have a four-point lead on Roma. That does not sound like a lot it’s actually not impossible that things changed but based on the way they’ve been playing it just seems unlikely that they’re going to sink even further. If Roma takes care of business against some of the lower teams they face in the next few weeks but lose to Napoli it could be trouble for the Champions League Ambitions. Roma needs to get champions league they needed it now more than ever. According to a rumor Cengiz Under could be made available if Roma doesn’t make the Champions League which is why it’s important that they do because losing a player of that quality cannot happen for the fourth consecutive season Roma lost a superb chance of putting themselves in the forefront Champions League race.