On Sunday, coming off the back of a 3-3 draw against Chelsea, AS Roma goes to visit a few ex-players who traded in their giallo e rossi jerseys for a darker shade of red. With the likes of Iago Falque, Adem Ljajic and Umar Sadiq, Torino boasts a very lupine attack. This same attacking force is also home to the ever dangerous Andrea Belotti who has helped Torino to a prolific 14 goals this season (the same total that Roma also holds). He is injured for and in doubt for Sunday, so we may get to see the likes of our young stud Umar Sadiq. If the past is any indication, as a Roma loanee, he will burn us. While both teams are scoring relatively frequently it is the defensive statistics that really tell the tale of the table.
Torino v. Roma: October 22, 15:00 CET/9:00 EDT. Stadio Olimpico, Torino.
With 15 points, Roma sits in 5th place. Not the prettiest of positions, but with losses to Inter and Napoli we have earned our lackluster spot. Averaging two goals a game is nothing to sneeze at, but the true strength of this squad has been our defensive fortitude. When I write “defense” you can read “Alisson”. Not to take away from the performances of the backline but it has truly been a breakout season thus far for the 25-year-old Brazilian. This is Rome, where defensive mental failure occurs about as often as an iconic Totti celebration (pretend this was written ten years ago), so paying some respect to the Freshly-baby-faced man in black is a must. As it stands, Roma are tied for first with least goals against. Alisson is tied for the most-clean sheets in the league (4).
Enter Torino. Among the top ten teams, they have the most goals scored against (13). Look for Dzeko (or maybe even Schick, who is reportedly ready to handle a couple minutes) and co. to take advantage of the rather porous backline. In their last match they tied Crotone 2-2, but looked like the much more dangerous team going forward. The first Crotone goal was scored by rather weak individual defending on the right flank, while the second was manufactured with come quick passes and over aggressive defending. Dzeko making quick plays with Nainggolan will prove a difficult task for Torino. While the wingers will look to cut in and make quick passes in the box.
Looking back at the short and long term histories of the club, Torino is facing a slightly poor run of form having tied their last two games 2-2 (vs Crotone and Hellas Verona) and losing 4-0 to their city rivals Juventus the week before. In their last five matches they are 1-3-1. Roma are 4-0-1, having performed rather well prior to their rather lethargic performance against Napoli last week. With dismantling’s of Benevento, Hellas and Udinese and a solid performance vs. Milan, Roma are looking to forget their last Serie a match and get back on the horse…or Bull.
Probable Roma line up: Alisson, Florenzi, Fazio, Jesus, Kolarov, Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Perotti, Dzeko, El Shaaraway
Probably Torino line up: Sirigu, Molinaro, Moretti, Nkoulou, Silvestri, Rincon, Baselli, Niang, Ljajic, Falque, Sadiq
Area to watch: Torino Offense
As mentioned above, this offence has the technical and individual skill to unlock any defense. The speed and trickery of M’baye Niang paired with the precise technical skill of Ljajic and savvy vision of Falque could prove very venomous. Not to mention the always relevant finishing acumen of Andrea Belotti, who luckily is injured for this match.
After putting up a heralded effort against the English Champions during the week, Roma will look to rotate the squad slightly. In defense, we will likely see Florenzi picking up the RB spot after a rather up-and-down performance from Peres. De Rossi will most likely start over Gonalons and we can anticipate an early sub, seeing either Pellegrini or Gerson stepping into the fray. Up top we should see El Shaaraway start the match with Perotti on the right. We may also have the privilege of welcoming back P. Schick to the squad today, most likely coming off the bench.
This one won’t likely end 0-0.
I think this video sums it up pretty nicely (just pretend that the buffaloes are bulls). Watch as at 2:31, with precision and wisdom, Nainggolan makes his move.