AS Roma vs. SS Lazio
Sunday, March 13th 2011, 15.00 CET
I’ve been looking forward to this Roman derby. I’ve lived in Rome for two years during my high-school period and I know the rivalry these two teams have for one another. And I’m sure today’s heads-up between the ancient Lazio’s two teams will raise spirits in the Italian capital. They might be sharing the same Stadio Olimpico, but not the same fans. And the Ultras (hooligans) on each side are really “passionate” when their team plays a game.
AS Roma has always been a very unpredictable team, and the last game supports this statement: this Tuesday, March 8th, AS Roma practically collapsed in their away game against Shakhtar Donetsk. They lost that game 3-0, after losing again in Rome in the first leg of that Champions League match 2-3. It seemed to me that they were really good before Shakhtar’s first goal. They lost it afterwards, though, and this is not the first time we see this at AS Roma. There’s always been a psychological weakness in the team that made them stop collaborating and start getting angry when things didn’t go their way. Totti, for instance, is so much appreciated precisely because of his leadership skills and his attempts to build confidence within the team.
Some say Roma didn’t really think they would go through to the quarter finals when they went to Ukraine. That could be so, since they couldn’t defeat the Ukrainians in Rome either. But whatever it was, it proved something is off with the team. They’re currently on the 6th place in Serie A, the very last place allowing them to compete in Europe next year. They’re tailed by Juventus on 7th and 4 points behind, who drew their game against Cesena. A victory today is crucial for the team to continue hoping for an European autumn this year.
SS Lazio are definitely more constant than their Roman rivals. They’re doing much better this season than the previous one. Right now they’re on the 4th place with 51 points. Last year at the same time, however, they only had 26 points (twice as few). From the fourth place they can go to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. But they can’t afford being to comfortable on that position: Udinese is right behind them with 50 points, and they’re facing Cagliari, a more comfortable adversary.
Statistics wise, SS Lazio conceded 16 goals fewer than AS Roma, but they scored 8 fewer. All in all, it’s a better result I’d say, and that is clearly reflected in Lazio’s Serie A position. They have a strong squad with no important absentee, and they have a better morale than their opponents today.
It’s really difficult to pick a winner here. If we look at their previous encounters, out of 133 games (!!), SS Lazio won 33 while AS Roma has 46 victories. But SS Lazio of today is not at all what it used to be: it improved a lot! And if we consider AS Roma is the only team in Serie A not to have scored from outside the penalty box this season (and the one getting most penalties as well), SS Lazio looks much more competitive.
There’s always been a lot of tension at this derby, both in the field and in the crowds. Past results start losing importance all of a sudden and a fierce battle unleashes in the field. I really expect both teams to score, and I’m going to bet 3 units on both to score for odds of 1.8 at Bwin. I’m also betting on a draw for 2 units at 3.1 odds on Bwin. If I were to favour one particular team I’d go with Lazio, but the odds for a draw are good enough, and there are big chances that this will be the final result today.
DRAW for 2 units
Both to score for 3 units