I doubt that, not even in his wildest dreams, Lazio coach Edy Reja would have imagined his team would be five points clear of champions Inter after nine games of the Serie A season.
The Aquile’s 1-0 win at Palermo last week was their fifth win on the bounce and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has only conceded once in that time.
The Argentina international may be struggling to be fit for this weekend, however, and would be a big miss.
Almost certainly, the Rome club are benefiting from the European commitments of many of their leading rivals but their achievements so far still have to be commended, especially as most people had them down as relegation candidates after an opening-day defeat at Sampdoria.
So how will Reja’s team cope with the unusual situation of being favourites for the Rome derby against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico?
Claudio Ranieri’s team will almost certainly have something special in mind to nullify the threat of Brazilian Hernanes, who has been Lazio’s stand-out player this season, though those plans will have to be executed without Francesco Totti.
So often Lazio’s tormentor in the past, the Gialorossi captain is suspended after last week’s sending-off at Lecce.
Roma are only ninth in the table but chasing a third win in seven days themselves after Thursday’s Europa League victory in Basle and this derby looks too close to call.
It may well be a tight affair so I’d take Stan James’ odds of 4/5 about there being under 2.5 goals