Serie A title chasers AS Roma will look to boost their chances of winning an unlikely Scudetto when they clash with age-old city rivals Lazio in the latest Derby della Capitale on Friday at 7.45pm (UK time).
It is not just the two Milan clubs looking to thwart Juventus’ stranglehold on Italian football this season, with Paulo Fonseca’s side very much in the title race mix. The Giallorossi currently sit third, above Juventus, and six points off leaders AC Milan, while their opponents on Friday, Lazio, are languishing in eighth.
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Where to watch Lazio vs Roma on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Lazio 1-2 Roma
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Lazio vs Roma build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Despite some very abject displays this season, notably a 4-0 loss to Napoli and a recent 4-1 reversal at the hands of Atalanta, Roma have largely remained consistent throughout the campaign, claiming points off the likes of Juve, Inter and AC Milan.
Fonseca has had to tussle with a centre-half injury crisis at various stages across the campaign (not ideal when your preferred formation is a back-three), but has weathered the storm to keep Roma clinging to the coattails of current pace-setters AC Milan, and very much in the Scudetto conversation.
For Lazio they have not enjoyed the success of their Stadio Olimpico rivals this season, with the distraction of Champions League group stage football taking its toll on their domestic form. Despite progressing to the last-16, Simone Inzaghi’s side are eighth in the Serie A table, but they have not lost a home Derby della Capitale since 2016.
- Lazio (vs Parma): Reina; Felipe, Acerbi, Radu; Lazzari, Milimkovic-Savic, Lucas, Alberto, Marusic; Caicedo, Immobile.
- Roma (vs Inter Milan): Lopez; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Villar, Veretout, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko.
Thomas Strakosha remains sidelined with a thigh injury, so Pepe Reina will continue to deputise between the sticks. Club captain Senad Lulic is inching closer to a return but this derby may have come too soon for him, while Mohamed Fares has not shaken off a calf tweak in time to make Friday’s matchday squad.
For the ‘visiting’ side their No. 1 is also injured, with Antonio Mirante currently on the sidelines, so Pau Lopez will continue his stint in the Roma goal, while Pedro is unlikely to take part.
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Players to watch:
Lazio: There are few matches in football as adrenaline-rushed and emotionally-fuelled as those between rival clubs, and the Derby della Capitale is no exception. This will be the 153rd Rome derby and the first to be played on a Friday, and both sides will be eager to make a fast start, which certainly bodes well for their quick-off-the-mark philosophies this term; Roma (eight) and Lazio (six) have scored the most goals in the first 15 minutes of Serie A games in 2020/21. So, midfield dynamo Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will be key here. He has the fourth-most assists among midfielders this term (five), and an eye for goal too. Lazio can dominate the middle of the park if the Spain-born Serbia international is in the mood.
Roma: Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been Roma’s lynchpin this season, with the former Arsenal midfielder topping the charts for Serie A goals and assists (eight apiece) while also bringing a considerable amount of venom to the flanks when he is not helping breach the net. But, for the big occasion there is only one man Roma will put their trust in: Edin Dzeko. The experienced Bosnian netted in the last derby (January 2020) and could score in back-to-back Serie A matches against Lazio for the first time since April 2016. Should he do so, then he will become the 6th Roma player to score in at least four different Serie A derbies after Francesco Totti, Marco Delvecchio, Rodolfo Volk, Dino da Costa and Amedeo Amadei.
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Lazio: WWDLW
- Roma: DWWWL
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