Roma will have a nearly complete squad available for Wednesday’s crucial Champions League match-up. However, the Giallorossi are still without one of their most influential players. That man of course is the heart, soul, and brains of the Roma midfield: Daniele De Rossi. De Rossi remains out with knee a knee issue that sidelined him over the weekend, as well. In addition to De Rossi, EDF will be without Luca Pellegrini, along with long term absentees Diego Perotti and Rick Karsdorp.
Even with De Rossi out on Saturday at the Artemio Franchi, EDF stuck with the 4-2-3-1 which has fit his squad best this season. Therefore, there’s no reason to believe that he will get too cute and change things up for the trip to Moscow. What will certainly change from Saturday is some of the personnel.
The one constant for Roma this season has been Robin Olsen and the Swede will again start between the sticks. Meanwhile, Kostas Manolas is ready to reclaim his starting place at the heart of the defense after being rested against Fiorentina. He will, in all likelihood, replace Juan Jesus and be flanked by Federico Fazio. Aleksander Kolarov will start wide left. Meanwhile, Davide Santon will start on the right with Alessandro Florenzi likely playing higher up the pitch.
The midfield position flanking Steven N’Zonzi may be most in question with the absence of Capitano Futuro. Often, EdF has replaced De Rossi with Bryan Cristante. However, on Saturday, he dropped Lorenzo Pellegrini into a deeper role and started youngster Nicolò Zaniolo at the trequartista position. It’s highly unlikely that Zaniolo starts again, but with Javier Pastore back in the fold EDF could name another surprise starter. The most likely scenario, however, would see Cristante starting alongside side N’Zonzi and Pellegrini in the trequartista role.
Despite the fact that Cengiz Ünder seems to play some of his best football on the European stage, playing wide right in attack will be Florenzi. Stephan El Shaarawy had a strong night in Rome the last time they faced CSKA, but it doesn’t look like enough earn him another start. The young Dutchman, Justin Kluivert, is being projected to start over Il Faraone.
Lastly, Edin Dzeko will start as the lone striker. Over the last two seasons, the Bosnian has done his best work when the Champions League anthem blares over the stadium sound system. His work up top will likely be essential in Roma securing a positive result at a tough road venue.
Roma (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Santon, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Nzonzi, Cristante; Florenzi, Pellegrini, Kluivert; Dzeko
CSKA Moscow (4-3-1-2): Akinfeev; Fernandes, Magnusson, Becao, Nababkin; Oblyakov, Akhmetov, Vlasic; Dzagoev; Chalov, Sigurdsson