With his side fresh off two exceedingly frustrating matches against Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, with a impromptu weekend off in between, Eusebio Di Francesco is reportedly looking to shake things up a bit against newly promoted Hellas Verona this weekend. While there have been a few stellar individual performances thus far, by and large, whatever EDF is tryin’ ain’t exactly working, at least not for an entire match.
So, in order to extend those intermittent bouts of 40 to 50 minute brilliance into actual results, rumors abound that Di Francesco will do some tinkering this weekend. No, not with his formation per se, but there may be a few rotations in the starting eleven on Saturday.
With the midfield lacking a creative spark, and let’s face it simply looking exhausted, Di Francesco is reportedly weighing a two-thirds change in the center of the park, swapping out Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman, each of whom seem to be suffering the effects of dual duty for club and country.
In their stead, it seems as though Lorenzo Pellegrini and Maxime Gonalons will each earn their first start in a Roma shirt. While Pellegrini isn’t the second coming of Francesco Totti, he should provide a bit of attacking verve into an otherwise stagnant midfield, while Gonalons will get his first taste of Serie A action filling in for the world weary De Rossi.
But the proposed changes don’t end there. With Bruno Peres continuing to besmirch the good name and memory of Torino Bruno Peres, there are rumblings that Alessandro Florenzi, the new capitano futuro, will occupy his now familiar right back spot, potentially making his first league start in nearly a year. Suffice it to say, this would be most welcomed news as Peres has been frustrating as usual while Rick Karsdorp’s return remains up in the air.
Furthermore, with his frontline looking positively pathetic, EDF may opt to use Stephan El Shaarawy from minute one rather than 90+; shocking, I know. By now you all know my stance on SES (I adore him), but whether you rate him or not, there’s no denying, he’s among the most athletic and nimble players on the squad, and that alone could provide a potential spark Saturday.
As with most things Roma, this potential switch isn’t without controversy, as there will be claims that the nominal starting eleven needs time to gel, but considering how exhausted the midfield looked in the latter stages of the Atleti match, I’d say it’s worth a shot; De Rossi and Strootman are savvy players who have each featured in a 4-3-3 before, so their acclimation period should be brief, so infusing some fresh legs might be a good idea on EDF’s part.
Will any of this happen? God only knows, but the speculation alone is intriguing.