Roma 2-0 Lazio: 6 Things We Learned
Roma took the spoils in the Derby della Capitale, with goals from Federico Balzaretti and Adem Ljajic downing city rivals Lazio to exact some revenge for their defeat in the Coppa Italia final months ago.
The Giallorossi have started the season on fire, claiming maximum points from four matches and sitting pretty at the top of the league ahead of Milan versus Napoli on Sunday night.
Lazio will go away and come again, but there is something special happening under Rudi Garcia, and ambitions will naturally grow after such an important win.
Here are six things that we learned from the Derby in Serie A.
Roma Do Not Miss Marquinhos
Roma cashed in on their young defensive sensation this summer, bringing uproar from the Giallorossi faithful.
A huge offer from PSG was enough to prize one of the revelations of Serie A last season to the French capital.
His replacement arrived without much of a reception, but former Udinese centre-back Mehdi Benatia has slotted into the Roma side without any problems whatsoever.
The Moroccan is the heart of a defence that has now conceded just one goal in four matches, earning three clean sheets already, in comparison to the eight from the whole of last season, which included a 3-0 victory awarded to them away to Cagliari due to issues surrounding the venue of the game.
Benatia is composed on the ball and organises the back line stringently, hammering home the importance for Federico Balzaretti and Maicon to get their positions correct in relation to the defence's shape.
Leandro Castan now looks comfortable and more assured, with his duties becoming clearer next to a more vocal partner.
As a result of this change in Roma's centre-back partnership in the off-season, surprisingly to most, the Giallorossi are now better than before.
Roma's Midfield Can Rival Juve for the Best in the League
Roma's midfield can now boast to be the league's best, with a trio of centre-midfielders capable of covering every skill required.
Juve's trio of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and one of Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba has been established as the class of the league for some time.
However, Rudi Garcia might take issue with that now that Kevin Strootman has adapted to Italian football and Daniele De Rossi, alongside Miralem Pjanic, appear to be rejuvenated under the former Lille manager.
De Rossi's industry, Strootman's penetration and Pjanic's guile make up a complete midfield that would be a superb match for the Bianconeri counterparts.
Lazio Need to Lessen the Burden of Creativity on Hernanes
Lazio have a gaping hole in the arsenal, as Hernanes was once again burdened with the sole responsibility of creating the opportunities for the side.
While sitting deep and also being required to push forward and use his vision in the final third, the Brazilian requires some help.
Lucas Biglia certainly helps, lessening the need for the former Sao Paulo star to drop so deep all the time to build Lazio's attacks.
But with Felipe Anderson making the bench for the first time and potentially being some weeks away from fully adapting to Italian football, Lazio could encounter this problem a lot more over the coming weeks.
Cristian Ledesma, Antonio Candreva, Alvaro Gonzalez and Senad Lulic are all workmanlike midfielders.
Ederson is another option who was eventually brought off the bench for the Biancocelesti, but Wladimir Petkovic does not appear to trust the Brazilian fully.
Lazio Need to Offer More Support for Klose
Lazio lack an extra magician, as discussed in the previous slide, but there also appears to be a lack of presence up top too.
Miroslav Klose is a predator and can finish with the best strikers in Europe, but with his career winding down, the German would be more effective with a partner.
The former Bayern striker struggles to influence the game when left alone up top, often isolated for long spells and lacking immediate support whenever he does control the ball and hold off the opposition's defenders.
Like Lazio's creative dilemma, the options to offer support for Klose are hardly plentiful.
Sergio Floccari is the obvious one to consider, but a potential partnership with Klose would lack any pace or penetration going towards the opposition's goal.
It would please Laziali to see the young Colombian Brayan Perea offered a chance, especially now that his registration issues have been solved.
Petkovic will need to be bold to ease the pressure on Klose, and giving an opportunity to a youngster might be the way forward.
The Derby Della Capitale Should Return to Evening Kickoffs
The Derby was, as always, a fascinating watch on Sunday, but it lacked a certain something.
With the kickoff in the afternoon, the atmosphere suffered somewhat.
The game's time was forced by authorities who decided that "the Rome Derby will not be an evening kick-off again" (via Football Italia).
Security concerns were the reasons behind this decision, but the occasion certainly suffered as a result.
The bright lights and the prestige of being Italian television's pick of the weekend diminish the glamour surrounding the match.
With other matches schedules at the same time, it also deprived many calcio fans of watching one of the great fixtures in the Serie A calendar.
An alternative solution should be looked into, potentially trialling the next derby on Saturday's 17:00 (GMT) slot.
Top Three Is Now a Viable Objective for Roma
Roma's preseason goal for the current campaign was to return to Europe and place in the top five.
But Rudi Garcia might need to alter that somewhat, as there is nothing to suggest that the Giallorossi could not find themselves in that coveted third Champions League place come May.
Juventus and Napoli look to be a cut above the rest, but after that, a litany of teams begin to step forward as candidates for that third place.
Milan were the original favourites, but the Rossoneri have hardly strengthened and are now blighted by injuries to Kaka and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Fiorentina would then be the obvious pick, but the Viola have recently suffered the bad news of a long-term injury to star striker Mario Gomez, which leaves a couple more options to consider.
Roma, alongside Inter, who have also started brilliantly, now find themselves in a position where they can push for third place, something neither side envisaged a few months ago.
Roma's depth in the squad could give them the edge over the Nerazzurri as the dark horse for this position.
Garcia would be wise to play down the prospect as a way of reducing the pressure heaped on the Lupi, but the prospect is now very real.