Roma v Lazio preview: Smalling to start his first Derby Della Capitale; pivotal role for Dzeko

Roma are hoping to restore some pride when they face off with rivals Lazio in the second Derby Della Capitale of the season on Sunday evening.

Having already suffered three defeats in January, Roma go into the match with their neighbours in need of a big win – especially without having beaten them in 15 months.

Lazio were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Napoli in their most recent fixture, but are on the back of an 11-match winning streak in Serie A, which Roma will be desperate to stop – as a fourth defeat of the month would not be fair on this current side, who have been making good progress this season.

Roma trained in front of their fans on Saturday to give them the extra motivation they need to assert their position as the city’s strongest club, despite the current positions in the league table. This is a match where form goes out of the window, and it is sheer passion and work-rate that leads the victors across the finish line.


Roma are boosted by the returns of Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore to the matchday squad after injury layoffs, while Edin Dzeko is back in contention after missing the Coppa Italia loss to Juventus through suspension. His experience in leading the line up front could prove to be crucial. Somewhat surprisingly, the Bosnian has not scored in a Derby since his first season with the club, so will be looking to put that right.

With Amadou Diawara out, Paulo Fonseca has confirmed that Bryan Cristante will start in midfield, with Jordan Veretout to be deployed alongside him.

At the back, Chris Smalling will retain his place as part of his solid partnership with Gianluca Mancini. Smalling did not feature in the reverse fixture having only just arrived at the club, so this will be his first appearance in a Rome Derby. He could be a difference maker as Roma look to restore the natural order in the Italian capital.

The game kicks off at 5pm UK time and will be shown live on Premier Sports 1.

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