Fresh off their 4-0 thrashing of Crotone on Wednesday evening, Roma looks to make it two in a row when they travel to the less glamorous side of Torino to take on, well, Torino. This extremely early Sunday match features Italy’s 5th and 14th place sides, respectively. Seeing as kickoff is little more than 17 hours away, let’s take a brief look at Roma’s week five matchup.
Old Faces, New Places
Roma’s matchup with Torino is noteworthy for several reasons, but none more so than the trio of former Giallorossi players currently plying their trade for the Toros. Led by the summer signings of Adem Ljajic and Iago Falque, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side has a distinctly Roman bent to it. While Ljajic and Falque had markedly different Roma careers, both players are struggling to make their mark early this season, though Falque at least has a consistent role with his new club.
Joining Nutella and Roma’s most recent failed Spanish experiment is one of the more beloved Roma players in recent memory, Leandro Castan, who seems to finally be righting the ship after a couple of lost seasons recovering from brain surgery. Castan has logged a total of 270 minutes for Torino thus far, and has played quite well, averaging three tackles, 2.3 interceptions and 4.7 clearances per match. At 29-years-old, he’ll probably never be an undisputed starter for Roma again, but here’s hoping he carves out a niche.
While those three familiar faces are all well and good, Torino’s prized bull is none other than 22-year-old forward Andrea Belotti. The young Italian has four goals through three league appearances and will certainly draw the attention of Kostas Manolas and the rest of Roma’s patchwork defense.
Same Faces, Same Formation
Roma’s 4-0 midweek domination was exciting for several reasons. While the simple sight of victory was enough to get your juices flowing, Luciano Spalletti’s shift to a 4-2-3-1 that featured Edin Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mohamed Salah and Francesco Totti all on the pitch at the same time was perhaps the most intriguing turn of events on Wednesday.
And while Spalletti has brought the exact same squad list with him, simple logic dictates that Totti won’t play any significant minutes a mere four days after his first 90 minute performance since May of 2015. So, in accordance with Roman law, Spalletti will revert to the 4-3-3, reinserting Diego Perotti into the lineup, though one can hope that El Shaarawy’s goal will get him off the proverbial schneid and back into Spalletti’s good graces.
At the back, things remain the same: battered and broken. With news that Thomas Vermaelen has been diagnosed with a potentially serious athletic pubalgia, a/k/a a sports hernia, a/k/a a no good groin, odds are that Manolas and Federico Fazio are Roma’s central pairing until Antonio Rüdiger is deemed fit for active duty, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Fazio is beginning to look more comfortable next to his Greek partner.
Thrashing lowly Crotone at home is one thing, but taking down a still surprisingly tough Torino side on the road is quite another. Are Roma up to the task?
Torino v Roma
September 25. 12:30 CET, 6:30 EDT
Stadio Olimpico, Torino