Roma is creeping closer and closer to the end of the injury crisis that it has limped through for well over a month. Edin Dzeko has been back for two matches now, Stephan El Shaarawy returned to the bench last match, and Lorenzo Pellegrini is poised to return to Saturday’s match day squad. Couple those returns with the previous returns of Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti a few weeks ago and the Giallorossi are almost back at full health.
Captain Daniele De Rossi remains out, which makes one think that his appearance on the bench against Genoa was purely for motivational purposes. Conversely with three weeks until Roma’s next league match, we could see DDR back for the Torino match. Joining Capitano Futuro off the match day roster are Davide Santon and Ante Coric.
SQUAD LIST | | v. Parma (a)— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 28, 2018
Here’s our travelling party for tomorrow’s game - and Lorenzo Pellegrini is back in the group!
(‘Normal club news’ for the day... ✅)
#ASRoma #ParmaRoma pic.twitter.com/gnzYnx2RRM
Roma is expected to come out in what has become its standard 4-2-3-1 formation against Parma on Saturday. Of course, Robin Olsen, who has played in all but one of Roma’s 18 Serie A matches, will protect the Roma net. With Santon out it is almost guaranteed that Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov will man the full back positions. They will flank Kostas Manolas and Juan Jesus, who is favored to start over Federico Fazio.
Meanwhile, with De Rossi still out, it’s likely that Steven N’Zonzi and the ever improving Bryan Cristante will continue to fill the double pivot in the midfield in front of the back four. With the two playing so many minutes, EdF fielded a question during his presser about other options saying,
“That’s something we’ll have to talk about after the break. [Lorenzo] Pellegrini trained with the group for the first time yesterday. Having him available is a boost, as a solution from the bench. We’ll make three changes and they are decisions that need to be made with all aspects considered.”
In front of the aforementioned duo, Nicolo Zaniolo will continue to man the trequartista position after scoring his first career goal against Sassuolo on Wednesday. Don’t be surprised if Lorenzo Pellegrini gets some minutes off the bench in his place or in the double pivot though; as he works his way back to full fitness.
Taking into account Di Francesco’s comments, it seems that up front is where there is the most variability in terms of who could start. On the wings, Cengiz Ünder is slated to start on the right. However, the left wing seems up in the air. With Perotti starting for the first time in months on Wednesday, and El Sharaawy just returning from injury, neither seems likely to play 90’. Will one of them start or will EDF go with Justin Kluivert? EDF spoke on the topic during his press conference.
“I’ll need to assess Diego [Perotti], though it’d be a risk. I was pleased with how he played against Sassuolo and we’ll talk about getting him back into the side. He wasn’t in top shape today, but he can improve. Stephan [El Shaarawy] doesn’t have 90 minutes in him yet, but he could start as he’s entirely recovered from his injury.”
The striker position also seems to be up for grabs. With Patrik Schick finally coming off a strong performance, the manager has a decision to make. Should he try and ride Schick’s confidence or get Dzeko his first start in some time? The major publications think Dzeko will get the start, but the manager left it open in his press conference, saying,
“Edin Dzeko is ready to start. I’ll assess the situation – both could start the match. We’ve got a run of games in quick succession and I’ll need to make some calls as to whether I can include players coming back from minor injuries and who can’t play a full 90 minutes.”
Below is the most likely starting XI, provided by Sky Sport Italia. But don’t be surprised if there are some changes from this projected line-up.