Roma gritted it’s way to three points last weekend against Genoa to break a long winless skip. One of the highlights for Roma fans was Captain Daniele De Rossi back in uniform, albeit on the bench, emotional as ever when Roma was able to find the winning goal. As encouraging as De Rossi’s return to the match day squad was, the injury crisis still has not passed, even though it seems to be nearing a conclusion. Roma will hope to return from its winter break with a full roster. However, that won’t be the case for Saturday’s match at the Allianz Arena against the indomitable force that has been Juve.
Unfortunately, despite making the bench last week, De Rossi wasn’t fit enough to make the game day squad this week. Remaining out with De Rossi are Stephan El Shaarawy, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Ante Coric. There is good news though, in the return of Edin Dzeko to the traveling squad.
After turning to a 3-4-3 formation last week against Genoa, which helped Roma escape it’s long winless run, all indications point to a return to the 4-2-3-1 formation in Turin. EDF will hope an experienced, yet struggling back line will be able to turn things around against Cristiano Ronaldo and company. Meanwhile, with injuries and the lack of fitness of those who have recently returned abound, the front line will again be a bit green.
Despite his first poor performance in a Roma shirt against Genoa, Swedish keeper Robin Olsen will retain his starting spot. With Roma returning to a four man back line, Juan Jesus will return to the bench and Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio will start at the center back positions. Flanking them will be Aleksander Kolarov on the left and Davide Santon on the right. Starting Santon will free up Alessandro Florenzi and give EDF a bit more flexibility in attack.
The double pivot in midfield will again be Steven N’Zonzi and Bryan Cristante; the latter coming off perhaps his best performance in giallo and rosso. In front of them will likely be Alessandro Florenzi and Cengiz Under on the wings with Nicolo Zaniolo at the trequartista position. This means Justin Kluivert will likely be the odd man out with Florenzi moving into attack. Despite their returns from injury in recent weeks, EDF confirmed that neither Javier Pastore or Diego Perotti is prepared to start yet.
EDF: Perotti and Pastore have both been able to train consistently and I’m glad about how their condition has improved - but it’s unlikely that either of them will start the game tomorrow."— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 21, 2018
#ASRoma #JuveRoma pic.twitter.com/xzUYkJFUTa
With a return to a 4-2-3-1, a striker will be needed, after Zaniolo in the false nine role didn’t work out as well as EDF hoped against Genoa. When asked about the choice between Zaniolo and Schick in Friday’s press conference, EDF responded by saying,
“It’s harder for Zaniolo. It’s easy to write a team on the board and put players where you want but when you look at things on the pitch you understand how football works. I didn’t get the answers I was looking for with Zaniolo in that position. It will be between Cengiz [Under], Schick and [Justin] Kluivert. Under had a minor problem the last few days so we need to assess him in training.”
With this in mind it looks like Schick will return to the starting XI. With Dzeko returning after three weeks, he won’t be an option to start. Nonetheless, if Schick struggles again, the big Bosnian should be an option to replace him.