Since the end of September, no one had been better in Serie A than Atalanta. Relying on a long list of promising young players, many of them developed in the club's youth academy, Atalanta had put together six consecutive wins and a nine-match unbeaten streak. The Bergamo club's streak ended Saturday with a 3-1 loss at Juventus, the five-time defending Italian champion.
The 152nd rendition of the Derby della Capitale, the battle for the hearts and minds of the Eternal City, kicks off in exactly 24 hours, and while this doesn’t quite match the Spring 2013 edition, the one that doubled as the Coppa Italia finale, the ramifications are no less important. With only five points separating the top five on the Serie A table, and with only one point between these two sides, Sunday’s tilt between Roma and Lazio promises to be one for the record books. And, in accordance with international law, Roma must enter this match with one arm tie behind her back, or more aptly two ankles. With Leandro Paredes and, more importantly, Mohamed Salah each dealing with their own ankle
If that headline looks familiar, well, it should. Just last week we discussed Leandro Paredes’ ankle issues—a high sprain—which came at an incredibly inopportune time for club and player. With a bear of a schedule coming up, and with Paredes rounding into form, Lovely Leo’s burgeoning talents surely would have helped Roma weather their toughest storm of the season, and while their first test without Lovely Leo went swimmingly, the midfield depth is virtually non-existent in his absence. Now, take all those concerns and issues and magnify them tenfold and you’ll begin to understand the trap into which Roma has just wondered. Edin Dzeko aside, there is no player more complicit in Roma’s success