Lazio - Roma Preview: Giallorossi aim to extend unbeaten run in Derby della Capitale

After a weekend of international football, players return to play in one of the most anticipated and fierce rivalries in world football.

Lazio - Roma Preview: Giallorossi aim to extend unbeaten run in Derby della Capitale
(Source: The National)

AS Roma will be aiming to keep the pressure on Napoli for the second Champions League spot, with a win in a near-empty Stadio Olimpico this Sunday.

Meanwhile Lazio need AC Milan and Sassuolo to start dropping points, giving them a slim chance to catch up and compete for a Europa League spot.

Less than 10,000 tickets have been sold, as the fans of both clubs are protesting the security measures that splits the stadium's "curva" - the two ends of the stadium. The Rome Derby will be without it's "ultras" once again, just like the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

That match ended in a 2-0 Roma win, with goals from Gervinho and Edin Dzeko converting from the penalty spot.

Statistics

Roma go into the match unbeaten in their last five fixtures against their rivals, with three wins and two draws. And when you take a look at the form of the two teams, you expect the Giallorossi's unbeaten run to continue.

Since the appointment of Luciano Spalletti, Roma have only lost one match out of 11 Serie A matches. And there's certainly no embarrassment losing away to league leaders Juventus, by a single goal.

Luciano Spalletti's second spell as Roma manager has got off to a brilliant start (Source: Gazzetta dello Sport)

Lazio's form has been in-different throughout the season, but will take some positives from being unbeaten in their last three league games (one home win, and two away draws).

Key Quotes

However, Spalletti believes that "form doesn't count for anything", and that when you are playing this fixture, it "cancels out everything else around us"

The Roma manager belives that "when you're in good form it can cause problems, this game clears everything." This theory of his suggests that "it's an advantage for the team that's struggling," and in this case it's Lazio.

Their former captain Stefano Mauri says "it's a special match in Rome. You're playing for an entire city, it's a unique game." He believes "you have to live it to really understand" the importance of the fixture.

The Italian international has played for the Biancocelesti for ten years now, but it's very unlikely that he'll start the match this Sunday. Mauri has only started six Serie A games this season, as he's approached the latter stage of his career.

The 36-year-old reminisced about the last time Lazio defeated Roma, whilst winning the Coppa Italia in 2013. Mauri says "it will remain unique in history," and for him to "lift the Coppa as captain was an indescribable feeling."

Stefano Mauri kissing Lazio's sixth Coppa Italia victory in their history (Source: lazialita)

"Symbol of Roma"

When asked about the quality of Francesco Totti, Mauri described him as "a great player, and a symbol of Roma, but he's still the captain of the other team," and that he "definitely prefers other players!"

With his contract expiring in the summer, it could be the last Derby della Capitale Francesco Totti experiences (Source: ESPN)

Key Players

Lazio's defence will have a tough match against Roma's front three. Mohamed Salah is Roma's top goal scorer with 11 goals to his name. And despite Diego Perotti and Stephan El Shaaraway only making the move to Roma in January, they already have seven goals between them.

With the absence of Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi has stepped in admirably as Roma's captain.  The Rome-born right-back will surely relish the Derby della Capitale, with his tenacious and hard-working ethic, getting up and down the right wing.

As Lazio manager Stefano Pioli has struggled to find a striker, to put in the quality performances required, there's pressure on Antonio Candreva to produce up front.

Sena Lulic is unavailable after receiving a red card during Biancocelesti's last match against AC Milan.

Roma Predicted  XI: Szczesny, Florenzi, Manolas, Rudiger, Digne; Keita, Pjanic, Nainggolan; Salah, Perotti, El Shaaraway

Lazio Predicted XI: Marchetti, Patric, Mauricio, Hoedt, Braafhield; Parolo, Biglia, Cataldi; Candreva, Djordjevic, Anderson