James Horncastle previews Monday night's Rome derby and believes Serie A legend Francesco Totti can add to his goal tally in a Roma victory...
"The price can perhaps be explained by Lazio’s poor form in the spring. They’re 16th in the second half of the season in Serie A, a dip that’s attributable to injuries to key players..."
Roma v Lazio
Monday 19:45, live on ESPN
When you get to Francesco Totti's age it's good to set objectives in order to motivate yourself to keep going.
In the long-term, the Roma captain wants to score the 48 goals required to reach the former Lazio striker Silvio Piola and become the all-time top scorer in the history of Serie A.
In the short-term, he aims to find the net in Monday night's eagerly anticipated Rome derby. Because if Totti were to do so, he would join Dino da Costa and Marco Delvecchio as the players to have scored most against Lazio in Roma's history.
Totti, it must be said, has traditionally found the going quite tough against Lazio. He has scored only eight times against them in 20 years, whereas Da Costa managed to get nine in the space of just two and a half between October 1956 and April 1959. Delvecchio did it in five between 1997 and 2002.
Although Totti's last goal against Lazio came two years ago, there's reason to believe he'll add to his total on Monday.
From a personal perspective, the 36-year-old is having an excellent season. Totti is the only Serie A player to have reached double figures for goals (11) and assists (10) this term. Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has even spoken about the prospect of calling him up for the 2014 World Cup should he be performing at this level this time next year.
Back him To Score at the best price available once the market becomes more liquid.
The exchange makes Roma favourites to win the 138th derby at [2.02]. That might strike some as strange. Fifth placed Lazio have won the last three derbies in a row and are three points ahead of Roma in seventh. So why does the market have them at [4.1]?
The price can perhaps be explained by Lazio's poor form in the spring. They're 16th in the second half of the season in Serie A, a dip that's attributable to injuries to key players in particular Miroslav Klose - who, according to coach Vladimir Petkovic is still a slight doubt for Monday along with Stefano Mauri. Add into the mix some poor officiating, slices of bad luck and going deep into the Europa League where they're in the quarter-finals and you have your answer.
Lazio lost 2-0 to Fenerbahçe in Istanbul on Thursday night. As it happens, they've never won in Serie A after an away leg in the Europa League this season. They felt particularly hard done by on the sending off of Ogenyi Onazi and on the penalty that Stefan Radu was harshly adjudged to have given away. While it's not as though Lazio need getting up for the derby, they've promised to channel their anger at these perceived injustices into it anyway.
Which brings us nicely on to discipline. There have been seven red cards in the last four Rome derbies. So why not back there to be another one at [2.8].
Also penalties can be anticipated. There have been five scored in the last seven meetings between Roma and Lazio. Three of them have been put away by Hernanes, who is also worth considering to score at anytime at the best price available. Given there have been Over 2.5 Goals in three of the last five derbies too, it might be worth getting on that too even at [1.88].