What: Italian Serie A
Who: Lazio vs Roma
When: Sunday 9th February, 2014, at 14:00 UK Time
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
Twenty nine points off the pace of second-placed Roma, Lazio play the Giallorossi in the second Derbi Della Capitale of the season, knowing that their fierce cross-town rivals took the spoils the last time they met in the corresponding fixture earlier this season, with Roma running out 2-0 winners over the Biancoceleste.
Lazio have been hit hard recently with the departure of midfield maestro Hernanes to Inter, with the Brazilian having been a key component of their set-up in the four years he has spent at the capital outfit since his arrival from Sao Paolo.
However, they will be confident ahead of this one, having won four of the past six outings that pitted them against Roma, with the 2001 Serie A title winners just managing one victory themselves. Furthermore, Lazio are undefeated in their last five matches in Serie A, with their last defeat dating back to 22nd December 22 as they fell 4-1 to Hellas Verona.
Edy Reja stuck by his 4-1-4-1 formation last weekend against Chievo, despite Hernanes’ departure. With the formula still proving to be a winning one for the coach, he is unlikely to alter it against Roma.
In Need of a Lift
So close to the top of the Scudetto standings earlier this season, Roma’s fortunes endured a hard spell recently as the Rudi Garcia’s players find themselves nine points off the mark of leaders Juventus, albeit with a game in hand. Having emerged victorious in their previous encounter with Lazio, the Giallorossi will be the “guests” this time around at the Stadio Olimpico, but realise that they need to dig deep in order to keep their title chances alive.
A win versus Lazio would be the perfect lift for Roma, according to defender Dodo, as the Giallorossi prepare to play Napoli in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals just a few days later.
“A derby is always important. The win (in) the first stage of the season helped so much in giving confidence to the team. We hope that this return derby will help us in the same way. The expectation as favourites? We are used to playing with this pressure and I have faith that Mr. Garcia will handle everything better”, declared the Brazilian stopper.
Undefeated in 22 of their last 23 games in Serie A, the nine-time Coppa Italia winners go into this game on the back of good form. Furthermore, they have scored at least twice in five of the last six away games that pitted them against the Biancoceleste.
Lazio 1-1 Juventus (25/01; Serie A)
Napoli 1-0 Lazio (29/01; Coppa Italia)
Chievo 0-2 Lazio (02/02; Serie A)
Hellas Verona 1-3 Roma (26/01; Serie A)
Roma 0-0 Parma (02/02; Serie A)
Roma 3-2 Napoli (05/02; Coppa Italia)
Lazio: Helder Postiga (doubt); Michael Ciani (doubt); Abdoulay Konko (doubt); Mamadou Tounkara; Emiliano Alfaro
Roma: Rafael Toloi (doubt); Dodo; Federico Balzaretti
Players to watch
Lazio – Antonio Candreva: The Italian international is amongst Lazio’s best men, scoring seven and assisting five times so far this Serie A term. Deployed on the right side of midfield, he will have to be carefully dealt with by the opposition.
Roma – Gervinho: The former Arsenal man has been amongst Roma’s best this term having made the jump from north London this past summer. His partnership with Francesco Totti is ever-blossoming, and the opposition will be hoping both won’t be on the same page today.
Rome derbies rarely fail to entertain, with goals and fouls galore. 46 yellow cards and eight red cards have been distributed in the past six games, and there is every bit of feeling that this occasion will not be an exception. In a position where they cannot afford to slip-up, and on such good form, expect the spoils to go in Roma’s direction for a second consecutive time.
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