Lazio vs Roma: Could this be Francesco Totti’s last Derby della Capitale?

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Lazio and Roma will duke it out for bragging rights as they clash in the famous Derby della Capitale at the Stadio Olimpico this Sunday.

In prior seasons, this game would usually mean a packed house of spectators. However, due to protests surrounding some new security measures, the Stadio Olimpico could be a ghost of its normal self. Some of the proposed ideas – including fining a fan for sitting in the wrong seat – naturally have not gone down well with neither Lazio nor Roma supporters, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Both Lazio and Roma will be feeling somewhat disappointed with how this season has turned out thus far. For Stefano Pioli’s side, their objective was to put all their efforts into the Europa League instead of Serie A. Unfortunately, they were dumped out of this season’s Europa League after a shocking 3-0 loss to Czech outfit Sparta Praha in the second leg of the round of 16 tie. As for Roma, their plan was to finally overthrow Juventus as champions of Italy after having to settle for second in two successive seasons.

That hasn’t exactly panned out for them, either. However, Champions League football is still within their grasp thanks to a much improved run of form following Luciano Spalletti’s arrival. The Lupi are now unbeaten in their last nine games, and although the 1-1 draw with Inter snapped their eight match winning streak, they nonetheless are in a solid third place, ahead of sides like Fiorentina and Inter.

Moving on past the league standings, another story that will be definitely brewing will be the fuss surrounding Francesco Totti. Despite turning 40 this year, the evergreen captain still believes he can compete at the top level – except unfortunately, it appears that his manager and the club’s hierarchy see otherwise. With this possibly being his last Derby della Capitale – as MLS has been bandied about as a possible destination – it will be interesting to see if Spalletti gives him some game time in this match.

Now coming back to the upcoming match: Lazio’s injury crisis appears to have no end in sight. Not only will Senad Lulic be out due to a ban, but Ricardo Kishna, Stefan de Vrij, Stefan Radu, Santiago Gentiletti, Abdoulay Konko are all still on the treatment table. In addition, there are doubts surrounding the availability of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Dusan Basta for this game, with both expected to undergo a late fitness test.

By contrast, Roma are pretty much at full strength. With the exception of fringe players Norbert Gyomber and Ezequiel Ponce, Spalletti will have everyone available for selection, as opposed to his tactical counterpart Pioli, who will have quite a selection headache, especially in defense. Lazio have not enjoyed the Derby della Capitale as of late, and have not beaten the Giallorossi since November 11, 2012, so a win for the Biancocelesti will be a long time coming.

The Lupi, on the other hand, have interestingly scored two goals in four out of their past five meetings. Simply put, Roma will be coming into this game with a massive advantage over Lazio, but they will still want to be wary of the Aquile. Although the Stadio Olimpico will not be buzzing as it once used to, this is still one of the most fiercely contested and classic derbies that any calcio fan surely will not want to miss.

MORE: You can watch Lazio vs Roma live with FuboTV 24-hour game pass FREE.

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.