THE Rome derby takes centre-stage in Italy on Friday night. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Lazio vs Roma | Friday 15th January 2021, 19:45 | Premier Sports
Friday night in the Eternal City and it's time for Derby della Capitale, arguably the fiercest rivalry in Italian football with the only disappointment being that this mouthwatering clash will of course be played behind closed doors in front of the usually packed empty curvas.
Let's hope the lack of hostility in the stands of the stadium these two great rivals share doesn’t dim the fiery intensity of battle which usually comes as standard but with both sides coming in to this one in good heart we shouldn’t have to worry on that score.
Lazio come in to this clash on the back of successive wins for the first time this season with the victory over Parma on Sunday also providing their fourth clean sheet in the league and a first since a 2-0 win over Napoli in Stadio Olimpico – curiously the same score line as in all the other shut outs.
However, third placed Roma will “visit” in great heart, having salvaged a late point against Scudetto rivals Inter Milan at the weekend to extend their unbeaten run to four and mean they have lost just once in the last eight Serie A games (W5, D2, L1) also safe in the knowledge le Aquile will have to make do without one of their most influential assets – their 12th man – the notorious Curva Nord.
The last four home matches for Simone Inzaghi’s team have seen a positive result (W2, L2) with the eventual winner on each occasion leading “to nil” at half time – a trend which ties in fairly well with the last five league head to heads which have seen a first half winner – with that team going on to claim all three points at the final whistle.
Exploring that angle of attack further it was interesting to note that the Giallorossi have not conceded a goal in the opening 45 minutes in any of their last six games, scoring themselves in five of them, netting eight times in total.
Their impressive form has seen them score three or more goals in four of the last seven league fixtures, opening the scoring in all of them securing a half time lead in six so therefore I like the look of the odds of 31/10 with Bet Victor for a Roma Half Time/Full Time result in what is even more of a level playing field than in recent clashes.
As for the likely contenders to find the net for Paulo Fonseca’s side 22 of their 37 Serie A goals (59%) have come from three players, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (8), Edin Dzeko (7) and Jordan Veretout (7) with best odds of 13/5, 28/17 and 3/1 available respectively to score at any time.
Mkhitaryan has really discovered the form that persuaded Manchester United to spend over £25m on securing his services back in 2016, he has added a Serie A high eight assists to those goals and his 26 key passes this campaign so far is second only to Lorenzo Pellegrini in the Roma squad.
When we take in to account Pellegrini whose odds for an assist are 13/5, has taken 70 set pieces to help those aforementioned stats compared to Mkhitaryan’s five this season then the odds of 9/2 for the Armenian who has assists in both his last two games and four of the last seven, looks a great price.
Despite, as mentioned above, Roma not conceding a first half goal in any of their last six games, they have gone on to ship 10 in the second period of those fixtures and with six of their last seven seeing four or more match goals there is a decent chance this could be an entertaining goal filled derby.
Lazio have just the man to exploit such an opportunity in the form of current Capocannoniare, Ciro Immobile who has now fired 11 Serie A goals from his 15 appearances and his failure to score at the weekend ended a run of finding the net which had stretched to five successive league games.
Having done all his scoring in singles the rare blank at Parma was in fact only the fourth Serie A fixture this season where the 30-year-old, who along with the Lazio president shared a private audience with Pope Francis to celebrate the clubs 121st birthday at the weekend, didn’t get his name on the scoresheet.
The Italian marksman also has a fine record against Roma, having scored for the Bincocelesti in five of his nine derby appearances against their cross-city rivals, but interestingly not one in the first half with his strikes coming in the 56th, 67th, 72nd, 73rd, 78th minutes.
Two of those strikes came from the penalty spot and as regular readers of my WLB previews will know we have collected on that particular bet, available with Bet Victor at 33/10, on more than one occasion – however I can’t ignore Roma’s recent first half goals against record and Immobile’s record against them and so my final bet is on a second half goal for Immobile at odds of 23/10 with Poker Stars.
Lazio vs Roma – Roma/Roma (31/10 Bet Victor)
Lazio vs Roma – Henrikh Mkhitaryan to have 1 or more assist (19/4 PokerStars)
Lazio vs Roma – Ciro Immobile to score 1 or more goals in the second-half (23/10 PokerStars)