On Sunday, Roma welcome bottom feeders Brescia to the Olimpico. The newly promoted side has to be considered one of the bigger disappointments in Serie A this season. It’s usually customary to see a first year Serie A side fighting relegation, but La Leonessa are already preparing to fight the drop, while they watch fellow newcomers Hellas Verona and Lecce punch above their weight.
Roma v Brescia: Sunday, November 24th: 15:00CET/9:00EST. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.
Brescia are also now on their second manager of the season: Fabio Grosso. The World Cup 2006 hero was appointed after Brescia fell to Hellas in early November, marking it's fifth loss in six matches. Eugenio Corini was promptly axed by Massimo Cellino after that rough stretch, which included one goals losses to Inter, Napoli, and Juve.
Grosso’s tenure got off to a horrid start before the international break with a 4-0 loss at home to Torino. The Granata were awarded two first half penalties before Brescia’s Aleš Mateju saw red, leading to an absolute rout.
Grosso will look to conjure up some of his 2006 magic to get the most out of a fairly talented, underachieving roster. In order for that to happen, Brescia will need more goals from Mario Balotelli (who has since been dropped for this match) and last year’s Serie B capocannoniere, Alfredo Donnarumma. In addition to them, two of Italy’s bright young talents ,Sandro Tonali and Andrea Cistana, will have to continue their fine form.
Slowing down Tonali and winning the midfield battle could be key for the Giallorossi in this one. Tonali has the ability to dictate play from the center of the park and it will be up to Jordan Veretout and Amadou Diawara to take the youngster off his game. If this happens, it could be a long day for the Biancazzurri.
For its part, Roma enters the match coming off a tired 2-0 loss at Parma prior to the break. In that match the Giallorossi suffered just their second league defeat, but it came on the heels of a loss at Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Europa League. Fonseca’s side will look to put those results squarely behind it by finding its late October form, which saw Roma move as high as third in the table by winning three straight in league action.
Just when we thought Roma were getting a bit healthier for this one, the official squad list is a bit shorter than expected. Just to update yesterday’s probable formations, Mkhitaryan, Pastore, Spinazzola, and Mirante will all miss out on this one.
However, the key for Roma to rediscover that form in this one could be Nicoló Zaniolo. The young Italian had a magnificent performance for Italy on Monday— scoring not just his first, but also his second Azzurri goal. That brace comes on the heels of scoring four in Roma’s last six. If he continues producing at that rate then the Giallorossi will be all the more dangerous and a handful for Brescia.
A matchup of two of the peninsula’s brightest young stars should present a treat for viewers. Whichever one shines brighter could be pivotal in seeing his side comes out on top.