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Projected Formations: Porto v Roma

Who will EDF go with to try and finish the job at the Dragão?

AS Roma v FC Porto - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma had nearly its whole roster available for Saturday’s Derby della Capitale. It seemed like great news. Then Kostas Manolas was resigned to pulling out of the squad late with intestinal issues leaving the Giallorossi sorely exposed at the back. Clearly certain players on this roster are not as easily replaced as others and Manolas is one of them. Luckily, for EDF whose job seems to be on the line, Manolas will be back for the trip to Portugal.

Additionally, the knock that forced Nicoló Zaniolo from the pitch around the 60’ during the derby was just that; a knock. He will be available for Wednesday’s match, as well as almost every other lupo minus Cengiz Ünder and Javier Pastore. The Turk’s long term injury absence continues, leaving EDF without one his most dangerous attacking options. Plus, Pastore was added to that list earlier this week.

After the dismal derby display, it’s likely that EDF will make multiple personnel changes against Porto. What those changes are will likely be determined by the formation that EDF employs. Will it be the 4-3-3 that started the derby or the 4-2-3-1 that Roma has played much of the season?

EDF didn’t give much of a hint at either personnel or formation during his pre-match press conference. It seems like he’s holding this one close to the vest with his job said to be on the line.

“Anything is possible. The lads know they must always be ready to step into the team. I’m not going to tell you today who will play tomorrow – the players don’t even know that themselves. I want to make that call at the end: I want to look into the eyes of my players then decide who to send out to battle.”-EDF

It seems that more publications are leaning toward EDF’s preferred 4-3-3 in this crucial match, so that’s what we’ll go with. Even though there were some murmurs of a possible Antonio Mirante start in net, it seems very unlikely. Robin Olsen should be the man between the sticks despite his recent struggles.

The defense in front of Olsen is where there could be big changes from Saturday. Of course, Manolas will return to his starting position in the heart of the defense. At the moment, it looks like ex-Porto man Ivan Marcano is the favorite to get the start in his old stomping grounds next to the Greek. Wednesday could also see a new starter at right back with Rick Karsdorp a candidate to take over for Alessandro Florenzi. The lone survivor from Saturday’s match in defense could be Aleksandar Kolarov on the left.

Daniele De Rossi will be expected to anchor the midfield and protect the defense as Roma looks to maintain its aggregate advantage. Flanking De Rossi at one of the mezz’ala positions will be Lorenzo Pellegrini. According to Sky Sport, the other mezz’ala could be Zaniolo, rather than starting him on the right wing.

Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko will lead the line and Roma will need him to be at his Champions League best, as the Giallorossi seek out a vital away goal. Starting on Dzeko’s left flank is expected to be the team’s leading Serie A scorer, Stephan El Shaarawy. Meanwhile, Alessandro Florenzi could start on the right side of attack if Karsdorp starts in the back. Keep an eye out for Diego Perotti as an option at either wing position.

ROMA (4-3-3): Olsen; Karsdorp, Manolas, Marcano, Kolarov; Zaniolo, De Rossi, Pellegrini; Florenzi, Dzeko, El Shaarawy

PORTO (4-3-3): Casillas; Eder Militao, Felipe, Pepe, Alex Telles; Herrera, Danilo Pereira, Torres; Corona, Marega, Brahimi