The Champions League returns to Roma’s calendar next week, which means we may see some turnover in the Roma ranks for Friday’s match at Chievo. In Verona, Di Francesco may decide to rest certain players to have them ready for Tuesday’s rumble at the Olimpico against Porto. However, Cengiz Ünder, and Diego Perotti are still out injured, while Robin Olsen and Kostas Manolas were both ruled out with “knocks” by EDF. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Pellegrini is suspended for yellow card accumulation.
EDF: "Olsen will miss tomorrow's game with a knock, as will Manolas - but we hope to have both back for Tuesday's game against Porto. De Rossi will need to be monitored, as naturally he is still not at 100%, but Juan Jesus is back and will travel with us."#ASRoma #ChievoRoma pic.twitter.com/IzV2fgnQHA— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) February 7, 2019
Thus, the manager won’t have his full repertoire of players at his disposal; this will limit turnover in certain positions. A match like this against a bottom feeder side prior to a Champions League match, has the names of role players like Perotti written all over it. However, without him healthy, regular starters like Stephan El Shaarawy will likely pull double duty.
Starting from the back, Antonio Mirante will make only his second start in the Roma net.
In front of him the four man back line will have one change from Sunday’s against Milan. With Manolas rules out, it’ll likely Federico Fazio and Ivan Marcano Manning the middle. Juan Jesus will travel with the team, but isn’t likely to feature coming off an ankle injury. They’ll be flanked by the struggling Aleksander Kolarov and in-form Rick Karsdorp. Karsdorp is coming off a strong performance and will look to continue to solidify himself as Roma’s go to at right back.
Meanwhile, Kolarov will try to work out of his recent defensive struggles before Tuesday’s big CL match. EDF spoke on his veteran left back saying:
“On Kolarov - we’re all human and everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes people can go over the top. But Aleksandar has always shown great dedication - remember he played for a month and half with a fractured foot. He has always given everything for Roma.”
What EDF does in the midfield will likely determine the formation that Roma rolls out. With Daniele De Rossi back in the fold last week, EDF had his regista back and the Giallorossi shifted back Di Francesco’s preferred 4-3-3 that was extremely effective against Milan. However, with De Rossi’s recently healed 35 year old legs unable to start both Friday and Tuesday, he’ll likely be saved for the CL match.
Even with DDR likely being rested, it looks unlikely Roma return to a 4-2-3-1 with Bryan Cristante and Steven N’Zonzi manning the double pivot. Instead, Roma looks poised to stay with the 4-3-3 with Cristante and wunderkind Nicolò Zaniolo, who continues to be one of Roma’s best players, flanking N’Zonzi.
EDF: “Zaniolo will start tomorrow as well. He’s looking fresh, mentally and physically. He still needs to improve - there are times where he could be even more decisive, but he’s still very young.”
There will likely be one more change to the formation from Sunday besides the two midfielders, and that is El Shaarawy getting the nod over Alessandro Florenzi at left wing. On the opposite wing, Patrik Schick looks to get his second consecutive start out wide after a strong showing against Milan. The Czech drew praise from his manager during the weekly press conference. El Shaarway and Schick will flank Dzeko.