Between the managerial change, the last minute transfers, the spate of injuries hitting Trigoria and the subsequent lineup shuffles we've seen during Roma's two match winning streak, it seems as though we've seldom had a moment to catch our breath. However, with little in the way of chaos or confusion, we dare say it's been a rather dull week in the Eternal City, to the extent that's even possible.
Since Roma opened up the week 23 action with a 2-0 victory over Sassuolo, it's only fitting they're the closing act in week 24, as they welcome Vincenzo Montella and Antonio Cassano back to their old stomping ground, though Ol' Crazy Legs' role with his old/new club seems to be diminishing as winter wears on.
Nevertheless, Montella, Cassano, Fabio Quagliarella and Luis Muriel are all that stand between Roma and three consecutive victories, so let's take a quick look at how Luciano Spalletti intends to brush off the Blucerchiati.
First, The Good News
While Roma received a much needed shot in the arm from Stephan El Shaarawy, Ervin Zukanovic and, as of last week, Diego Perotti, the fact remains Spalletti wasn't dealing from a full deck the past few weeks. No more, with the return of Edin Dzeko, Alessandro Florenzi and Lucas Digne, Spalletti's bench is suddenly jam packed. And with the recent performances of El Shaarawy, Zukanovic and Perotti, on the bench is precisely where those erstwhile starters may remain.
Given their two wins on the trot, odds are we'll see a repeat of the 3-4-2-1 that worked so well the past two outings. While they've been far from perfect, slowly but surely, Roma is looking more cohesive, and with El Shaarawy, Perotti and Mohamed Salah playing so well at the moment, don't be shocked if Dzeko remains planted on the bench. Plus, you know, he can't hit the broad side of the barn lately.
Florenzi figures to slot into Maicon's spot out wide on the right, while the return of Kostas Manolas couldn't have been any timelier, as he should slot right into the spot vacated by the inured Daniele De Rossi, giving Spalletti a tidy 3-4-2-1 of Rüdiger, Manolas, Zukanovic, Florenzi, Pjanic, Keita, El Shaarawy, Salah, Perotti and Dzeko, though that final name is certainly up for debate as we just discussed--could be Totti, could be Salah or even El Shaarawy. Though that isn't exactly cut and dry either now that Radja Nainggolan suspended this week. The headaches, they never end.
Now for the bad news, despite their 16th spot on the table at the moment, Montella's men have been giving Roma fits lately, as they've taken the Giallorossi down a couple pegs in their last two meetings, including a 2-1 victory in the fall.
But these are two clubs heading in opposite directions, and with Spalletti's maneuvers growing stronger by the week, Roma seems like a safe bet this week.