Critical Capital Clash

One of the biggest derbies in world football takes place this Saturday with added spice this term. The Serie A season may only be four months old, but this match is already immense in relation to the title race and Champion’s League places on offer, as well as it being a fiery and highly anticipated encounter that no player on either side wants to lose. Personal pride, passionate rival fans, this match has it all. The pressure is on, and for both teams the stakes couldn’t be higher this season.

Roma should have been Juventus’ closest rivals for the Serie A title this season, and they still may be once the Italian title race enters the final stretch of games, but so far they have not been as captivating as the teams above them in the table and seem to have been forgotten as possible champions thanks to Napoli and Inter Milan’s superb run and play so far this season. The 2017/18 term was billed as Roma’s season, it was their time to finally snatch the championship from Juventus after pushing them all the way last year and only finishing four points behind The Old Lady in second place. Ending up in the Champion’s league places hasn’t been a problem for Roma in recent years but the club is in desperate need of a Scudetto having only won three since being formed in 1927, the last being in 2001. Lying in fifth place at present, five points off leaders Napoli at the top, you would be foolish to rule the Giallorossi out of the title race as four straight wins in the league have boosted the team, but judging by the form of their challengers, Roma will have to keep up their winning streak if they want to lift the Serie A title come May. One thorn in Roma’s side and an unexpected one at that, is the form of Roma’s bitter capital rivals Lazio. When talk of title odds and teams to challenge Juventus began pre-season, the Biancocelesti were not even mentioned as top four contenders let alone championship winners, but it would appear Roma have to watch out for their neighbouring foes this season as well as attempting to leap-frog Napoli into first spot. There is one guarantee however, Lazio are the last team in the league Roma will want to take their predicted crown away from them…

The surprise package so far this season in Serie A has been Lazio. Finishing fifth and eighth for the last two seasons, the 2014/15 term saw the team from the capital finish third, their best position in recent seasons. Previous to this, the last ten years have not made good reading for the Biancocelesti, mid-table finishes and languishing in the bottom half of the table come May, this is a far cry from their championship winning 1999/2000 season and top four finishes during the ‘90’s, but are things about to change for the blue side of the capital this season? On current form the team predicted to be crowned champions better watch out for an intruder to the top spot. More than impressive displays have made Lazio the talk of Serie A this season, beating Juventus away from home raised eyebrows and slashed the odds of Lazio taking only their third title since 1900. Their only loss this season has been to title hopefuls Napoli but that didn’t halt the Lazio juggernaut, since then they have had 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Sassuolo and Benevento as well as 27 goals scored in all competitions, it is no wonder confidence and a belief the championship could really be a reality is flowing through the capital’s blue side. The form of Ciro Immobile has been paramount to Lazio’s title dreams so far this term – eighteen goals for the striker and looking irresistible up front make him seem like a snip now – Lazio signed him in July 2016 for just under 8million Euros. The team’s defence looks as good as any of the other contenders for the championship, their midfield just as entertaining, but can they keep up their great form and mount a serious challenge to the title when the season enters its final months? Time will tell, either way, it has made the Serie A race to top spot even more interesting and exciting than predicted.

Both Roma and Lazio will be determined to stay in touch with the other titles contenders as the season progresses and being crowed champions is paramount to both clubs, however, Lazio will not want to see Roma lift the title and vice versa. The rivalry has intensified with both teams chasing top spot in the league and with the derby match taking place at the weekend, the game will be a critical capital clash. Win, lose or draw on Saturday, the Scudetto could be heading to Rome in May, if so, it would have been expected to be draped in Roma red, not Lazio blue…

Categorized as News

By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.