Things aren't exactly going poorly in Rome right now, it's more like Rudi Garcia's side is stuck in neutral; doing just enough to separate themselves from the middle of the pack, but not nearly enough to eclipse Juventus as the top of the table. With his tactics, starting lineups and substitutions seemingly in flux, we simply have no idea how Roma will approach the Coppa Italia.
If you've been with us for a while, you no doubt recognize the significance of this annual rite of passage. Should Roma capture the Coppa Italia this season, they will be the first club in the competitions history to hoist the trophy ten times, earning them a shiny silver star to adorn their kits for time immemorial; a minor bragging point, but one they could still horde over the rest of the league.
However, with domestic cups losing their luster across the continent, just how many and what resources Garcia will dedicate to Roma's latest quest for ten remains a point of contention. Given how resolutely Roma has run over tomorrow's opponent Empoli throughout their collective history, that is really the only pressing matter ahead of tomorrow afternoon's opener. Will they go for it, or will they use the 2015 Coppa Italia as a testing ground for their score of impressive youths?
Roma squad to face Empoli: Astori, Borriello, Calabresi, Holebas, Cole, De Rossi, De Sanctis, Destro, Emanuelson, Florenzi, Iturbe, Ljajic, Lobont, Maicon, Manolas, Nainggolan, Paredes, Pjanic, Skorupski, Somma, Totti, Ucan, Verde, Yanga-Mbiwa
Unfortunately, that squad list doesn't really give us any indication which way Rudi is leaning. Kevin Strootman is out due to a carryover suspension, while Vasilis Torosidis has been deemed unfit. However, Salih Uçan, Leandro Paredes and Daniele Verde have once again been called up for action, whether they actually play remains to be seen. Remember, both Daniele De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan were suspended for the trip to Palermo over the weekend, so they may be the freshest members of the midfield core, so we can't automatically assume Paredes or Uçan will start in their place. Meanwhile, with all the usual names upfront, it remains to be seen if Verde will make another surprise start, or if Mattia Destro will get the playing time he so desperately craves.
Empoli is barely clinging to life in Serie A, just three points above the drop zone, but they have drawn five of their past six matches, so they just have a way of hanging around and ruining everyone's fun.
So which Roma will we see tomorrow? The experiment or the status quo?