Much like in his debut match, when Roma travel to Ferrara on Saturday to take again SPAL, Claudio Ranieri will again have less than a full deck to work with. The injury bug continues to bite Roma with Lorenzo Pellegrini, Daniele De Rossi, Kostas Manolas, Javier Pastore, and Cengiz Ünder all still out injured. Meanwhile, Nicolò Zaniolo and Aleksandar Kolarov are both questionable after being limited in training this week. Lastly, Alessandro Florenzi is suspended after being red carded at the tail-end of last match.
In a small bit of positive news, Roma gets back Edin Dzeko and Federico Fazio from yellow card suspension.
There seems to be universal agreement across Italy’s major sports publications that Ranieri will turn to the 4-4-2 for this one. Robin Olsen is expected to retain his place in goal. Meanwhile, the four man back line will likely see some changes. Juan Jesus looks to have a leg up on Davide Santon to start on the left, something I am a bit skeptical of.
Meanwhile, the major publications expect Fazio to start in the middle upon his return. Something Ranieri seemed to hint at in his presser. Ivan Marcano with start next to him; keeping his place after a strong performance Monday.
One place on the field where there is little room for change is the two central midfielders. With De Rossi, Pellegrini, and potentially Zaniolo all out, expect to see Steven N’Zonzi and Bryan Cristante to again form the central midfield tag team.
During his press conference, Ranieri was asked if playing Parik Schick and Dzeko together would mean a change in formation after he stated his desire to play the two in tandem last week. Something that Ranieri dismissed as not necessary for that pairing to happen. That was followed up with a question asking if the two of them do play, would it mean less wide attacking players. Ranieri’s answer to this was very coy and close to the vest.
“I will make my decisions based on the fitness of the players available and the opposition we’re facing. I have to take all of these factors into account to create a balanced team.”
However, if Ranieri does indeed switch to the 4-4-2 rather than stick with the 4-2-3-1, both Dzeko are Schick are a lock to play together up front. Meanwhile, last match’s Man of the Match, Stephan El Shaarawy is expected to move to the left midfield position. On The opposite side Zaniolo will start on the right if he’s fit. Otherwise it will likely be Jutin Kluivert starting.