Between Sunday’s stink bomb at the Marassi and the mishegoss of the transfer deadline, Roma’s looming Coppa Italia fixture against the Seahorses of Cesena tomorrow afternoon sort of got lost in the shuffle. Where the weekend ended with disappointment, deadline day was rather uneventful. Despite all the blustering, Roma managed to hang onto Leandro Paredes and Kostas Manolas (for now), so it would appear as though it’s all hands on deck as Roma continues their quest for a tenth Coppa Italia title.
Given all the craze of the past few days, we’ll keep this one extremely brief. Cesena enters tomorrow’s quarter final matchup fresh off successive victories over Empoli and Sassuolo, so, if nothing else, they don’t shrink from top flight competition. And while we’d like to think that Roma presents a greater challenge than either of those two, the fact is that they still dropped points to Empoli, failing to even score a goal, so god only knows how this will play out.
Roma v. Cesena: February 1, 21:00 CET/3PM EST. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.
Speaking of playing, let’s talk about that: who’s actually lining up for this one tomorrow? With both Paredes and Manolas left on the bench against Sampdoria, the natural speculation was they were as good as gone—why else would you rest them, particularly Manolas, if there wasn’t a sale pending?—but now that deadline day has come and pass, will they be available for tomorrow’s tilt?
Luciano Spalletti admitted as much when discussing the two, hinting that Manolas will start against Cesena, but the other ten men remain a mystery. In Roma’s last Coppa fixture, a 4-0 victory over Sampdoria, he took the opportunity to tinker, giving Alisson, Juan Jesus and Mario Rui starting nods. So will tomorrow follow suit, or will Spalletti, seeking to right the ship after Sunday’s loss, opt for a more familiar lineup?
Well, if Sunday was any indication, Thomas Vermaelen should never don a Roma shirt again, so the safe money is on a Manolas, Antonio Rüdiger and Federico Fazio reunion, while one of Kevin Strootman, Daniele De Rossi or Radja Nainggolan desperately needs a week off, so Paredes shouldn’t find playing time hard to come by.
Beyond that, it’s the same old story: will Spalletti tinker with his frontline, or is it Edin Dzeko or bust?
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we’ll keep it at that. So, what do you think, can Roma saddle up these seahorses?