Sunday night we saw another edition of one of football’s most antagonizing exciting and exhilarating Derbies throughout Europe. The Roman Derby between Roma and Lazio a derby that means everything to everyone in the city. Roma and Lazio played out a 1-1 draw in the first match of this fixture earlier this season. In that particular game Lazio dominate the match and probably should have won the game. Sunday night it was polar opposite of that. Lazio had an 11-game winning streak going prior to this matchup they are the most in-form team in Italian football. Meanwhile Roma have gone through a rough peroid Since returning from winter break as their Ambitions are to get back into the champions league and had an opportunity to do that with points in this match. It was a match that Roma dominated from start to finish and probably should have collected all three points. To a certain extent Lazio were exposed for the world to see. There have been discussions that Lazio are contending for the scudetto after the performance it would be in serious doubt after Roma made them look slow unathletic and average. It was a a compilation of goalkeeping errors that led to the goals but Roma still ran Wild on the Lazio and we’re a little unlucky not to a pick up all three points. Edin dzeko gave Roma the lead in the first half after Thomas strakosha made a huge error as he came out of the box leaving open net to try to attend to the ball that was being sent in from the wing. Coming forward with 6-foot 4 Edin dzeko the Bosnian connected with the ball scoring on a header as he saw the ball fall into the empty net as Roma took the 1-0 lead. Soon after that there was a penalty claim as Justin kluivert was taking out inside the box. After a VAR review the penalty was ultimately canceled. In what was a slightly controversial decision. However at Second Glance it looked like kluivert just ran into the defender. Before the end of the half Roma’s goalkeeper made a mistake Paul Lopez made a huge error somewhat punching the ball back into his own net before Francesco Acerbi got to the ball to put it in the back of the net. To goalkeeping errors highlighted the first half of play. In the second half Roma dominated from the very beginning to the very end. They were the better team they look dangerous on so many occasions from Back to Front. Edin dzeko Bryan cristante and Cengiz under looks absolutely Unstoppable they were on the verge of scoring on so many different opportunities. Had Roma finished a little bit more clinically in front of goal they surely would have won the Derby and earned the bragging rights. However Roma ended Lazio 11-game winning streak and kind of expose them for who they are. Lazio struggled to do anything against Roma as they created next to nothing. Roma have to feel disappointed that they were not able to pick up all three points but with the 1-1 draw Inter Milan remains in second, Juventus losing to Napli doesn’t do as much damage and Roma slide up back into fourth place. A match that could have been much more for Roma but Roma proved their point after that performance Lazio clearly isn’t what we thought they were.
Lazio isn’t what we thought they were
One of the biggest takeaways from this game was the lack of conviction from Lazio. They aren’t what we thought they were. It is still highly likely that they will finish in the top three this season and finish ahead of Roma for the first time in a decade. Despite this there has been an awful lot of talk about Lazio potentially winning the scudetto or at least challenging Juventus and Inter Milan for that spot. Inter Milan have a been pretty pathetic the last couple weeks but even so I don’t believe they are in contention for the league title. Juventus and Inter Milan are the two teams that I believe can win the League this season. Inter Milan needs to get their stuff together but those are the two. In the derby against Roma last night Lazio showed the world exactly why they’re not going to be chasing down the league title. There’s always a certain level of intensity when it comes to Derby’s especially this one where the fans have so much distaste for each other. It is one of the most violent and passionate derbies in all of Europe. The sky isn’t falling for Lazio but given the way they performed it is truly concerning. Lazio even though they managed to get a point look second best throughout the entire game. Roma absolutely dominated them throughout the match. Lazio created next to nothing in one of the biggest matches of the season. They have performed well in certain games they have even beat Juventus twice this season but when it becomes difficult they crumble. They didn’t play well throughout the match they got down early and play itself didn’t improve as the match went on. Roma truly exposed them for the team they are. Lazio is a great team that has potential to build something special but they are not fighting for a league title this season. Roma made this team look sloppy and shut down their star power. Roma is a talented team so that is not the end of the world but it’s the way they made a Lazio look. Other teams can watch the game last night and figure out how to shut this team down. Immobile is the top scoring player in the league this season with 22 goals Luis Alberto has more assists than any player this season they have star power all over the place and last night and in a must win match because every Derby seems like a must-win they let themselves down. All their Big Time Players had little to no impact and we’re on the back foot all the time had Roma finished more frequently in front of goal Lazio would have lost. Lazio have been given a large amount of penalties this season and have scored eight goals in stoppage time and in which Lazio has been given significantly late time to score the goals. They were crowning Lazio already this team does not have the winning intangibles to realistically challenge Inter Milan and Juventus for the scudetto everyone has overreacted to this team they are not what everyone thought they were and that was evident in the draw on Sunday.
The goalkeeping errors we’re highlighted in the match on Sunday. Both Thomas strakosha and Pau Lopez did not paint themselves in the best light. Both goalkeepers made game defining mistakes that led to a draw that would probably feel unjustified to Roma who significantly outplayed their City rivals. The criticism may have been getting I think it’s fair. This is the thing about football that a lot of people don’t understand. When you make one of these types of mistakes you deserve to have that type of criticism. That’s not to say Thomas strakosha and Pau Lopez are not brilliant goalkeepers. They are but when you make that type of mistakes the criticism isn’t foul it’s Justified because of how their mistakes impacted the match. However it is really important that we do not overreact to the situation the heat is fair in Justified but we have to make sure not to jump to conclusions. In my estimation Thomas strakosha is one of the best eight goalkeepers in Italian football and Pau Lopez is one of the best five. Both of these guys have had Sensational Seasons they just made some really bad mistakes in the biggest game. We have to be careful not to disgrace them because of one or two mistakes in that game. I’m going to focus on Pau Lopez most people know how I feel about Thomas Strakosha when Alison left Roma I campaigned for him to be the replacement I think he is just spectacular. Pau Lopez on the other hand has been almost perfect replacement for Alisson Pau Lopez has been perfect for a Roma. They need a keeper after the disaster of Robin Olson last season. Robin Olsen would make mistakes like that in almost every game that is why he lost his position. Pau Lopez has been nothing short of special against Genoa last weekend he made one of the saves of the season and has perfected his craft he is going to be such an outstanding keeper for Roma in years to come. This is his first year in Italian football and he is already one of the best Keepers in the league. I have total faith in Pau Lopez going forward for the next decade he made a mistake he will learn from it and we will see a rejuvenated Pau Lopez.
Cengiz Under is back
Cengiz Under has been given an opportunity he wouldn’t have had initially when Nicolo zaniolo ruptured his ACL. There have been a lot of rumors that the Turkish star was going to head for the exit door. This might have actually happened if it wasn’t for the injuries that Roma have gone through over the last couple weeks. Under arrived two seasons ago and broke on the scene once he got his footing he was sensational one of the best players in the league during a stretch during his first season in Italy. He followed that up last year was another very productive campaign. During his first two seasons he was really special people forget he scored an important away goal against shakhtar Donetsk and assisted Kostas Manolas in the big comeback against Barcelona. He has played some really important roles in the club’s success over the last couple seasons. This season all of a sudden he started to struggle after scoring in the first game of the season he failed with consistency and was dealing with injury problems. The emergence of Zaniolo thriving in his position it kind of neutralized his spot in the Roma team. His exit seems like it was coming sooner rather than later but all the sudden he has started to find his way into the team now that he’s being able to play on a more consistent level he was playing with that confidence and consistency we all know he’s capable of in the derby against Lazio he was antagonizing he created a lot of different issues and problems for Lazio to deal with. His exceptional speed and creativity was on full display he was Roma’s playmaker in the attack. Came close to scoring and supplying opportunities to teammates on several occasions. Edin dzeko ended up getting the goal but Cengiz under played a big role and Roma performing the way they did absolutely dominating their arch-rivals. It seemed like the Turkish star was going to be leaving at some point after performances like this Roma may have a place for him in this team after all.