It’s been a long time coming, but EDF finally has (almost) all of the wolves back with the pack. With Kostas Manolas overcoming what looked like an awful ankle injury sustained last match, along with Rick Karsdorp and Patrik Schick returning to fitness, EDF will have his pick of the litter for Saturday’s Derby della Capitale. Only Cengiz Ünder remains sidelined for this match.
Currently, all of the major publications seem to believe that there is only one position up for grabs and that Roma will return to a 4-3-3 formation to combat Lazio’s preferred 3-5-2. EDF wouldn’t commit to either in his prematch presser though
Starting in the net, Roma will hope that the Robin Olsen from two matches ago against Bologna shows up rather than the Olsen of last match against Frosinone. In front of Olsen will, of course, be the recovered Kostas Manolas leading the back line.
Who partners him in the center of defense remains the big question mark in all the projections. Currently, it seems that Federico Fazio has a slight edge over Juan Jesus and Ivan Marcano. Flanking Manolas and his TBD defense partner will be Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov. Florenzi will look to improve on his recent disappointing performances on the biggest of stages for a Roman like himself. Meanwhile, Kolarov will look to repeat his heroics from Roma’s September derby victory.
Roma will return to a three man midfield that looks like it will be all-Italian and two-thirds Roman. It will be interesting to see how EDF manages Captain Daniele De Rossi’s minutes with the Porto return leg just days away. EDF didn’t seem concerned on Friday, saying, “De Rossi is fine. Potentially he could play in both of the next two games, but we need to assess him on a game-by-game basis.”
There’s little doubt that DDR will be chomping at the bit to get a crack at Lazio Saturday. He’ll sit in front of the defense flanked by derby hero and fellow Roman Lorenzo Pellegrini with Italian international Bryan Cristante on his other flank.
Up front, back in form Edin Dzeko will lead the Roma attack, looking to pick up where left off last week against Frosinone. Wide left will be Stephan El Shaarawy, whose own fine form has been overshadowed by the match winning Dzeko.
Rounding out the starting XI will be wunderkind Nicolò Zaniolo, who will again play out wide in the absence of Ünder. It will be Zaniolo’s first chance to impress in a derby. EDF just wants the youngster to play his game.
“Let’s leave Zaniolo be. The others have told him what the derby is all about. I want to see him as determined and focused as always.”