No matter how Roma’s season is going, the Derby della Capitale will always be a critical match. There’s just such a high level of enmity between the two clubs that inhabit the Stadio Olimpico; players, managers, and club officers all get caught up in it at least twice a year, and for the tifosi, it’s a 365-day-a-year battle.
Last Match: A.S. Roma 3 - Lazio 1
Let’s put aside some of the uglier sides of this battle for now, particularly the renewal of anti-Semitic slurs marring the walls of Rome, and instead focus on the two sets of eleven players who will be taking the field tomorrow. In case you forgot, the first derby of the 2018-2019 season went quite well, with Roma “waxing” Lazio 3-1 with goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini, Aleksandar Kolarov, and Federico Fazio. This one was one of the first major instances where Kolarov and Fazio showed off their rather surprising goalscoring prowess this season, and considering the incredibly democratic nature of Roma’s attacking habits to date, the Giallorossi will probably need more of the same this Saturday.
Lazio vs. Roma: March 2nd. 20:30 CET/2:30 EST. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.
Looking at more recent history, Lazio are currently trying to recover from both a loss of form and a battle with the injury bug. They’re currently winless in their past four matches, including crashing out of the Europa League against Sevilla and losing grasp on a Champions League spot with a loss to Genoa. If anything, Romanisti should expect Lazio to act like an injured animal in this match. We’ve already said countless times that Roma has to treat every match in Serie A like a cup final if they want to get a Champions League spot; well, for Lazio, imagine that pressure and then double it.’
In contrast to their Roman brethren, the Giallorossi have found their form as of late, spurred in part by the explosion of Nicolo Zaniolo and a dramatic increase in goal output. After being booted out of the Coppa Italia very unceremoniously at the end of January, February saw Roma win four and draw one, with i Lupi finding the net in each match. There are certainly a boatload of defensive issues that still exist for Eusebio Di Francesco’s men, but Romanisti may just have to be resigned to this state of affairs until the summer mercato, barring a drastic change in defensive form by Federico Fazio, Aleksandar Kolarov, or perhaps even Ivan Marcano.
This match isn’t just for bragging rights around Rome for the next half year. It’s a crucial step for both Roma and Lazio in their respective quests to make it into the Champions League for 2019-2020. Expect a hard-fought match with plenty of passion. If nothing else, the Derby will always give us passion.