The two Rome-based sides who have failed to make an early impact in their respective campaigns this season go head to head today at the Stadio Olimpico as Lazio and Roma square out against each other in the Rome Derby.
Lazio have found it hard to gain momentum this season as they have only managed to record 16 points out of a possible 33 till now. While Maurizio Sarri’s men heralded hope when they defeated the reigning Scudetto holders Napoli on the third matchday of the new season, it was on the back of two shocking defeats and the victory was followed with another thrashing loss to Juventus.
The Biancocelesti are now in contention to progress to the knockouts of the Champions League after they picked up a narrow win against Feyenoord in their previous outing thanks to Ciro Immobile. Lazio’s wins against Atalanta and Fiorentina added the necessary climb in their form and their expectation of finishing top four remains intact.
Meanwhile, Roma approach this match on the back of a startling defeat to Slavia Praha in the Europa League. A win would have sealed their place in the Round of 16 of the competition but now they are level on points with the Czech-based side in their group.
Like their neighbourhood rivals, the Giallorossi too have experienced enduring times this season but are slowly coming back on track. Roger Ibanez, Bryan Cristante and Adam Marusic were all shown the red card when these two sides met back in March and Jose Mourinho will have a job on his hands to keep things cool on his part.
Romelu Lukaku has brought back Roma to fight for a top-four spot after their dismal start and he is expected to play an instrumental role today.
Results from their last five matches across all competitions
W L W L W
L W L W W
Pedro is expected to replace Mattia Zaccagni after the latter went off with a knee injury against Feyenoord.
Luis Alberto might just be passed fit for the match but may not start.
As for Roma, they are set to welcome back captain Lorenzo Pellegrini as he completed a full training session ahead of the derby.
Leandro Paredes will return to the midfield after serving a suspension against Lecce.
Chris Smalling is still ruled out with an injury.
Lazio (4-3-3): Provedel; Lazzari, Patric, Romagnoli, Hysaj; Guendouzi, Rovella, Alberto; Anderson, Immobile, Pedro
Roma (3-5-2): Patricio; Mancini, Llorente, Ndicka; Karsdorp, Cristante, Paredes, Aouar, Zalewski; Dybala, Lukaku
Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN