The city of Rome will come to a standstill for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon (2pm GMT, live on ESPN) when Lazio host Roma in the 171st Derby della Capitale.
Both sides have made decent starts to the season, with Lazio currently in fifth place on 19 points from six wins, one draw and four defeats. Roma are two places further back in sixth, having won five, drawn two and lost four.
Lazio began the season superbly under new coach Vladimir Petkovic, winning six of their first eight matches, but have been in poor form recently, losing two of their last three, including last weekend’s 4-0 humiliation away to Catania.
German striker Miroslav Klose was suspended for that encounter and when he is not scoring Lazio have few others capable of stepping up to the mark. Klose is the only Lazio forward to score so far this season, managing six goals in 10 appearances, 37.5% of the club’s total. Lazio have won each of the four matches in which he has scored, but just two of the seven in which he has not.
Klose will return to the starting eleven on Sunday, hoping to add to his total against a Roma defence who have conceded more goals (20) than all but one team in Serie A. The majority of his supply in this campaign has come from the flanks, with Antonio Candreva, Alvaro Gonzalez and Senad Lulic all having assisted him at least once.
The other player who has provided an assist for Klose this season is Brazilian midfielder Hernanes, who has made a superb start to the season. This is now his third season in Serie A and he has been the driving force behind Lazio’s best performances, scoring five times and providing two assists. He also has an important role to play in getting the ball out to the flanks quickly and with good quality, allowing the wide men opportunities to get at their full-backs.
The quality of Lazio’s defending has varied fairly considerably so far this season. They have kept three clean sheets but have also conceded two or more goals on four separate occasions, including in three of their last four matches. They have struggled against teams who attack quickly, such as Napoli and Catania, which could make them ideal prey for Zdenek Zeman’s Roma.
As well as having the second-worst defensive record in the league, Roma also have the best offensive record, scoring 26 times in their 11 matches to date (2.36 per match, on average). Zeman espouses all-out attack, always confident of his team’s ability to outscore the opposition if they play with the pace and incision he requests of them.
When you can call on an attacking trio as talented as Erik Lamela, Francesco Totti and Pablo Osvaldo then such confidence is perhaps warranted. All three got on the scoresheet in last weekend’s 4-1 win at home to Palermo and between them have scored 17 times so far this season. Lamela has scored six in his last five matches.
But despite the potency of Zeman’s attack, defensive problems have at times overshadowed their output. Roma have twice lost after being two goals to the good and have conceded in all but one of their matches. They also capitulated away to Juventus, letting in three goals in the opening 20 minutes. Their laughably disorganised offside trap was breached with alarming ease and regularity.
No one defender has taken part in all of Roma’s Serie A matches to date. Zeman has shuffled his deck on numerous occasions, but doing so has rarely produced a sustained improvement in results. Conceding goals is somewhat of an occupational hazard when you deploy the balls out approach Zeman favours, but just a little more solidity in that department would go a long way towards making Roma serious top three challengers.
Lazio v Roma Betting Tips Verdict
Rome derbies in Zeman’s first spell at Roma were often packed with goals, including one thrilling 3-3 draw in November 1998. With Roma resplendent in attack and inept in defence and Lazio prone to bouts of poor defending but in possession of a prolific striker up front, Sunday’s match promises to be little different.
We find it difficult call this match either way in respect of the full-time result, so can only suggest sticking money on plenty of goals, sitting back and enjoying the spectacle.
- Back over 3.5 goals @ 10/11 with Bet365, Ladbrokes or Coral. You could try getting the current price of evens (1/1) with Boylesports but they are out on their own and don’t usually take much of a bet, so the price is bound to shorten soon either in line or, even more likely, shorter than the others.
- Klose is a master at working on the shoulder of the last defender and with Roma high defensive line should get plenty of opportunities to get on the scoresheet. Therefore, back Miroslav Klose to score at anytime @ 7/4 with Blue Square.