PREVIEW: ROMA VS LAZIO, WILL LAZIO PUT PRESSURE ON JUVENTUS OR WILL ROMA SPOIL THE PARTY?

With just a handful of matches left before the season comes to an end, the Rome derby is once again around the corner. This footballing summer in Italy has been full of ups and downs, with surprises waiting at every stop for the fans. Inter and Antonio Conte ended Juventus’ Serie-A winning streak as they were crowned champions of Italy earlier this month. And another twist could be awaiting the spectators when host at Stadio Olimpico. 

Roma hasn’t had the best of the seasons domestically as well as in Europe. Even if they manage to win their remaining fixtures they’ll be 6 points short of last year’s tally. The Giallorossi were knocked out of Europe by Manchester United. The Red Devils ran riot at Old Trafford destroying the Italians 6-2.

 

 

Roma did manage to win the return leg but couldn’t capitalize on the early chances and a 3-2 win wasn’t enough for them to reduce the deficit. All in all, they have been poor in all parts of the game. Paulo Fonseca’s squad couldn’t achieve Champions League football once again and him being shown the door perfectly sums up Roma’s situation.

Though they’ll be looking to turn their fortunes in the last 2 games of the season. They go up against a much confident Lazio side. Lazio hasn’t been one of the best outfits in Italy this campaign. Bayern Munich was too strong for them in the Champions League and they might miss out on European football next season.

Though one thing that could prove beneficial for them is that they have a game in hand as compared to their opponents. 3 wins out of the remaining 3 fixtures could see them displace Ronaldo’s Juventus if they drop points against champions Inter on Saturday.

Lazio could still get a ticket to Champions League’s next campaign whereas depleted Roma, whose campaign collapsed after a good start, will look to spoil Lazio’s party. Roma. Ex-Manchester United and Spurs manager, Jose Mourinho is about to take the reins from Fonseca next season. And Fonseca wouldn’t want to bow out without two wins. 

 

 

 

TEAM NEWS

 

Paulo Fonseca who will leave Roma at the end of the season might be the most worried manager in Europe at the moment. It seems like Roma’s injury list doesn’t have a full stop. After every 90 minutes, Fonseca has a new set of injured players to deal with. None of Riccardo Calafiori, Amadou Diawara, Pau Lopez, Leonardo Spinazzola, Jordan Veretout, and Nicolo Zaniolo will feature on the team sheet going into Saturday’s clash.

Roma Probable Lineup: Fuzato; Karsdorp, Mancini, Kumbulla, Santon; Cristante, Darboe; Pedro, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

 

 

With just 4 games left for Simone Inzaghi’s troops to gain a ticket to Europe, Lazio will look to field their strongest team against Rome. They would want to brush aside the challenge Roma present. Lazio’s last game was heading into a stalemate until Immobile bagged a last-minute winner to send his team closer to Juventus who are in 5th place. There are just two small injury concerns for Inzaghi. Both Felipe Caicedo and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic won’t be traveling to Rome for their team’s clash this week owing to injuries.  

Lazio Probable Lineup: Strakosha; Radu, Acerbi, Patric; Lazzari, Parolo, Cataldi, Alberto, Fares; Muriqi, Immobile

 

GAME CHANGERS

Whenever someone has to pick out five-star players from Lazio his list won’t start without Ciro Immobile. The 2019/20 European Golden Boot winner has been an influential figure for Lazio on the field.

The Italian who guided his team to victory after scoring a late winner could once again be the key star for Lazio. The 31-year-old has a knack for finding spaces and making difficult runs behind defenses. With Roma having a long list of injuries, it’s very doubtful that Immobile won’t find the back of the net on Saturday.

 

 

With Smalling and Calafiori recently added to the list of absentees for Roma, Immobile could frustrate inexperienced center-back Kumbulla. The Italian has already scored 20 goals this season and many of them have come when the team was put on a spot. Roma has conceded the most goals(56) in the top half of the Serie-A table and Immobile could easily add to his tally of goals and assists in Rome.

It’s worth mentioning that the talismanic striker’s record against Fonseca’s team is also world-class. He has found the back of the net on seven occasions in 14 matches.

 

 

But the game won’t just be about Immobile’s brilliance in front of the goal. One man who has revolutionized football in Rome is club captain, Lorenzo Pellegrini. The midfielder has 7 goals to his name in Serie-A but his presence in the center of the park makes him a key figure. He doesn’t have the habit of losing possession in tight spaces while finding the perfect balls for striker Edin Dzeko.

 

 

He covers every inch of the grass, wins aerial as well as physical battles. The veteran has also been in fine form scoring goals for fun for Roma. If Francesco has to salvage some respect out of the season he’ll want his captain to perform and cause problems for the Lazio defense. His powerful shots from outside the box could also prove troublesome for the goalkeeper, Thomas Strakosha.

 

PREDICTIONS

Though Roma would want to end the season on a high, Lazio might just edge against La Lupa on Saturday. FootTheBall expects a tight game decided by a solitary goal in the favour of the blue half of Rome, Roma 0-1 Lazio.

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