The battle for the top four rages on in the Serie A. With the title seemingly heading towards a rare Napoli triumph, the rest of the Italian giants are left battling tooth and nail for an opportunity to play in next season’s edition of the UEFA Champions League.
LAZIO VS ROMA
After shocking the Stadio Armando Maradona and claiming a prestigious win against high-flyers Napoli, Lazio slipped up in its first-leg Conference League match against AZ Alkmaar and later succumbed to a goalless stalemate away to Bologna. Maurizio Sarri’s men have been showcasing some of the most entertaining football in the Serie A, but consistency is still a work in progress.
In the reverse fixture, Lazio beat Roma 1-0 by proving to be the more mature team on the pitch despite lacking Sergej Milinovic-Savic due to suspension. This time around, Ciro Immobile and Matias Vecino will be the absentees, so Sarri will hope that his team rediscovers its mojo from the previous weeks to see off city rivals Roma, who are just two points away from the Biancocelesti.
Things look equal ahead of this Roman derby. Lazio is the slight favourite to win the game at 17/10 (2.70), with Milinkovic-Savic to score anytime listed at 13/2 (7.50). The second-half result to be in Lazio’s favour is priced at 41/20 (3.05).
Roma’s recent triumphs against Juventus and Real Sociedad (first-leg) injected enthusiasm into the Giallorossi fans, only for a messy 4-3 loss at home to Sassuolo to follow. Languishing in fifth place, Roma has shown glimpses of a solid, all-rounded team—Paulo Dybala is clearly the best piece of business the Romans have pulled off in recent years. Despite that, losses to Sassuolo last weekend and Cremonese a few weeks prior seem to anchor Jose Mourinho’s men to a plateau from which the Portuguese tactician will be scrambling to bounce out—the derby is the perfect game for that.
The last time Lazio lost to Roma as the host was in the 2016/17 season. Time and time again, the Biancocelesti have proven to be fitter for the job than Roma, so Mourinho—who is suspended—will have to hype up the dressing room to get his men sharp on match day. Kumbulla’s straight red against Sassuolo means that he will sit out the derby, as will Diego Llorente, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Andrea Belotti. With a midweek appointment in Spain for the second leg against Real Sociedad, Mourinho would have surely hoped that this derby would arrive at a later date.
Roma is listed at 39/20 (2.95) to stun the Olimpico and win the derby. Tammy Abraham to score anytime and Over 2.5 goals is listed at 21/4 (6.25). The half-time result to be a draw is valued at 19/20 (1.95).
INTER VS JUVENTUS
Qualification to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals has put some water on the fire crackling around Simone Inzaghi. Although Inter’s away record has been stuttering as of late—losses to Bologna, Spezia and a draw against Sampdoria are testaments to its difficulties away from the Meazza—the Nerazzuri pulled through in Portugal; earning a 0-0 draw despite the relentless attacks coming from the home side. Another stern test awaits Inter as the Derby d’Italia fast approaches.
With three wins on the bounce at home, Inter will be out for revenge against the Bianconeri, who triumphed 2-0 in the reverse leg. Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez are dubbed the attacking pair in Inzaghi’s line-up—keep an eye out for Martinez, who scored in each of Inter’s last three home games. The Argentinian has three goals and two assists in the 13 games displayed against Juventus.
Much like an old lady rocking back and forth in a rocking chair, Juventus has been oscillating between solid results and lacklustre ones. Despite having 15 points deducted for off-the-pitch irregularities, the Old Lady of Turin is only four points away from Conference League qualification—with a potential reversal of the 15-point penalty, Juventus can be catapulted back to second place. The Bianconeri have won five of their last six Serie A fixtures, making them a fine candidate to storm the Meazza and claim the three points.
It has been a season of injuries for Juventus, being the club with the highest muscle-related injuries in the Italian top flight. Up against Inter, Massimiliano Allegri will be short of Gleison Bremer, Leonardo Bonucci, Alex Sandro, Paul Pogba, Arkadiusz Milik and youngster Kaio Jorge—quite the populated infirmary. Nevertheless, Allegri has been doing well to promote up-and-comers Nicolo Fagioli, Enzo Barrenechea and Fabio Miretti to the senior team, although the Italian tactician will probably opt for the more experienced midfield connoisseur Angel Di Maria instead.
There are some interesting betting markets for the upcoming Roman derby and Derby d’Italia at LV BET. Do not miss out on the footballing spectacle this weekend!
*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing