It’s well known that Roma have been fighting through an injury bug for some time now. The loss of some key players can’t be blamed completely for the team’s struggles, but it hasn’t helped. Roma have begun to get some players back in the past week or so, with the returns of Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti over the weekend. In addition, youngster Ante Coric returned to training this week. However, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Edin Dzeko, and Stephan El Shaarawy all remained sidelined at least though the weekend. Thus, EDF still has limited options when choosing a starting XI for Wednesday’s match in the Czech Republic.
This isn’t your typical throw away game, even with Roma already having advanced as the second team out of Group G. Normally, a game, which will have no impact on the group standings, would normally allow the manager to run out plenty of reserves and rest starters. However, given Roma’s limited personnel, there likely won’t be a ton of turnover from Saturday’s disaster against Cagliari. Additionally, Roma are desperate to get a result to gain momentum and get the season going in the right direction again.
One place that EDF did confirm a change is at keeper. Roma’s regular starter, Robin Olsen, will be rested and Antonio Mirante will by the start; a rarity for the Italian veteran. This will be only his second start for this season.
EDF: "I don't have so many options to choose from tomorrow. A lot of the players will be the same ones who featured against Cagliari and who will also play against Genoa on Sunday. The only thing I'll say is Mirante will start in goal instead of Olsen."— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 11, 2018
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The one place where EDF does have his full stable of horses is in defense. Thus, the back line is where there is the most potential for turnover. Despite the manager’s comments today about limited turnover, some publications like Gazzetta dello Sport are projecting a completely new defense compared to Saturday’s. Gazzetta is projecting Davide Santon and Luca Pellegrini at the full back positions; flanking Ivan Marcano and Juan Jesus. Meanwhile, other publications are a bit more conservative. Sky Sport is projecting Aleksander Kolarov and Federico Fazio retaining their starting roles with Santon and Marcano joining them. Either way we should see at least two changes in the back.
EDF: "De Rossi has started running again and, while this Sunday is too soon, we hope to have him available for the game against Juventus. Lorenzo Pellegrini will need a bit more time.— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 11, 2018
"As for the others, Dzeko is ahead of El Shaarawy in his recovery.”
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EDF did confirm that Daniele De Rossi has begun running again, but remains out until at least next week. That means that it’ll likely be Bryan Cristante and Steven N’Zonzi in the two man midfield protecting the defense. However, it is possible that Nicolo Zaniolo could spell N’Zonzi and flank Cristante.
With the absences of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Edin Dzeko, and Stephan El Shaarawy, EDF is again limited up front. With this in mind Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Ünder will again start on the wings and Patrik Schick will again play as the loan striker. The one change up front could be at the trequartista position. EDF stated that Javier Pastore, despite not being ready to play ninety minutes, could start.
EDF: "None of the players coming back from injury will start, except for perhaps Pastore. Perotti has had several injuries and it's impossible for him to play the full 90 minutes."— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 11, 2018
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There is certainly a lot of variability in terms of who could start in Plzen, despite Roma’s fairly limited options at some positions. Below are two possible starting XIs according to Sky Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport.
Roma (4-2-3-1) – Olsen; Santon, Fazio, Marcano, Kolarov; Zaniolo, Cristante; Under, Pastore, Kluivert; Schick.
Gazzetta dello Sport
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Mirante; Santon, Marcano, Juan Jesus, Lu. Pellegrini; Cristante, Nzonzi; Under, Pastore, Kluivert; Schick.