I’d like to think I have a somewhat firm grasp on football by now, but the announcement that Cengiz Ünder didn’t even make the squad list for tomorrow’s trip to Bologna is somewhat strange considering he recovered quickly enough from a knee sprain to score a splendid goal for Turkey against Montenegro on Tuesday. While Eusebio Di Francesco is likely just giving him a precautionary rest ahead of next week’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona, it will nevertheless force EDF to make some tactical changes ahead of the Bologna match.
It was quintessentially Roma that, following the realization that they’d be facing Lionel Messi and the Barca machine in the quarterfinals, the football world went on international break, leaving fans and pundits alike with nothing to do other than fret about that fixture.
A fact not lost on EDF:
Our heads must only be geared for Bologna, I have little interest in the rest...It’s crucial that we maintain our position in the table. Dzeko or Schick? I have to make some assessments because we have four very important games in 10 days, but we’ll make the right changes tomorrow.
I have to make physical and mental assessments, also taking into account their international commitments...Dzeko or Schick will play as the [lone] striker. As for who plays out wide, it’ll be two out of El Shaarawy, Gerson and Perotti, with the first being the favourite.
No major surprises there, but Edin Dzeko did log 145 minutes for Bosnia and Herzegovina over the international break, and has gone the full 90 for Roma in nearly 78% of his matches for the Giallorossi this season, so a break tomorrow, even if it’s only 45 minutes, might go a long way to ensuring Roma survives that four match in ten day stretch.
With the grind of the season and the added pressure of international competition weighing on their best players, it looks like Roma’s depth is going to be tested during the toughest portion of the season. And as always, the manner in which Roma weathers that storm will effectively determine what sort of team they’re able to field next year.
You know, the usual Roma stuff.