Roma will have to get through one more match to finish out a brutal stretch of three straight weeks with multiple competitions, a stretch that has seen them get healthier in defense by regaining Davide Zappacosta, but thinner in attack with the loses of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Those two join fellow attacking threats Diego Perotti and Cengiz Ünder on the shelf as Roma prepares to host Cagliari in its last match before the international break.
During Thursday’s Europa League match at Wolfsberger, Fonseca finally got players like Edin Dzeko and Aleksandar Kolarov the rest many were clamoring for. With that in mind, some of the veterans will be well rested for this one, but Fonseca will still have to cope with a lack of attacking depth again for Cagliari. The absences become even more concerning considering the pedestrian displays put in by Nicoló Zaniolo and Justin Kluivert in attack against the Austrian side. That may cause Fonseca to get creative with his lineup on Sunday.
This is something that leaves some key differences in the projections (as of Friday morning EDT) from Italy’s two biggest sports daily’s: Corriere dello Sport and Gazzetta dello Sport. The personnel doesn’t vary much between the two; just one player really. However, the way the players are deployed varies greatly.
The two dailies agree on a return to goal for Pau Lopez, along with three-fourths of the defense. Both have Federico Fazio and Chris Smalling in the middle with Kolarov on the left. Where they vary is at right fullback: GdS projects Leonardo Spinazzola to start on the right, while CdS has Alessandro Florenzi.
That change at right back will have a domino effect throughout the projected lineups. CdS features a double pivot of Bryan Cristante and Amadou Diawara, but GdS has Jordan Veretout in for the Guinean. This chain reaction continues into the attack.
Both publications, of course, have Dzeko returning to the starting XI to lead the line. However, the attacking trios vary greatly: CdS goes with Kluivert, Zaniolo, and Veretout with the Frenchman playing the trequartista role, while GdS has Florenzi playing out wide (hence his absence at full back) with Zaniolo at trequartista and Kluivert on the left.
As for Cagliari, expect to see three ex-Giallorossi players in their starting ranks come Sunday: Radja Nainggolan, Luca Pellegrini, and Robin Olsen.
Corriere’s Projected XI
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Pau Lopez; Florenzi, Fazio, Smalling, Kolarov; Cristante, Diawara; Kluivert, Veretout, Zaniolo; Dzeko. Manager: Fonseca.
CAGLIARI (4-3-1-2): Olsen; Cacciatore, Ceppitelli, Pisacane, Pellegrini Lu.; Nandez, Oliva, Rog; Nainggolan; Joao Pedro, Simeone. Manager: Maran.
Which projected starting XI would you prefer on Sunday vs Cagliari?
This poll is closed
Gazzetta dello Sport
Corriere dello Sport