Lazio vs AS Roma: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have a positive impact when Lazio and AS Roma clash in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday.

The Coppa Italia resumes this midweek with the quarter-finals. The first of the four games saw Fiorentina reaching the semi-finals. But the marquee fixture will greet us on Wednesday, with Lazio and AS Roma locking horns at Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio reached the quarter-finals by beating Genoa 1-0 in the Round of 16 last month, with Matteo Guendouzi scoring the match-winner. Maurizio Sarri’s men have recently seen an upturn in form, winning their last three Serie A games to climb to seventh on the Serie A table.

On the other hand, AS Roma came from a goal down to beat Cremonese 2-1 last week to reach the quarter-finals. Jose Mourinho’s men have blown hot and cold, winning only three of their most recent six matches across all competitions.

As is often the case in derbies, form goes out the window, with even a struggling team tending to produce excellent results. That should not be any different when Lazio and AS Roma lock horns on Wednesday. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can positively influence the tie this midweek.

Paulo Dybala

We start our list with a player who has been a talismanic attacker for AS Roma since arriving from Juventus 18 months ago. While his performance levels have dropped this term, he remains a pivotal figure for the Giallorossi. We are talking about the in-demand Paulo Dybala, who features on the wishlist of many top clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United.

The Argentine international singlehandedly led AS Roma’s charge for a top-four finish last season but could not inspire his team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. He has combined well with Romelu Lukaku in the final third despite not being at his best this term.

The Lazio defence has thrived on solid performances at the back in the last few weeks. So, AS Roma will need Dybala to be at his best to create the openings in the final third. Without his creative output, Lukaku cannot hope to bully the Biancocelesti defence into submission. Hence, how the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner fares will go a long way in determining the game’s outcome.

Will Dybala rise to the occasion? (Photo by Wagner Meier/Getty Images)

Matteo Guendouzi

Goals have come at a premium for Lazio this season, with the club’s top scorer managing a paltry tally of seven goals. That player is Ciro Immobile, with the Italian international on the sidelines recovering from an injury. So, midfield solidity will go a long way in keeping Lazio in the game, bringing Matteo Guendouzi into the picture.

The French international has been a workhorse in the middle of the park for Lazio this season, featuring regularly in the middle of the park. The former Arsenal midfielder can put in the hard yards in the defensive phases, while his link-up abilities and late runs into the opposition’s box make him a threat during transitions.

While Guendouzi has not scored many goals this season, his only strike came in the Round of 16 of the Coppa Italia this term. So, he might not pose a goal threat but will still get into areas where he can push the AS Roma defenders and make his mark for Lazio.

Romelu Lukaku

Our list ends with another AS Roma attacker. We are talking about Romelu Lukaku, who has settled down nicely at Stadio Olimpico, becoming an instrumental performer for the Giallorossi under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho.

The Belgian international has been one of the most prolific strikers in the world this season, amassing 14 goals and two assists in 23 appearances thus far. The former Manchester United striker has put his Chelsea frustrations behind him to prove his credentials in Serie A again. And unlike last season, he has not had any injury woes hampering him.

But with Lazio’s defensive output improving in the last few weeks, the veteran striker needs to use all his experience to deliver the goods in the final third for AS Roma. With the other players not being nearly as prolific, Lukaku’s output inside the box will be crucial for the Giallorossi to reach the semi-finals.

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