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Probable Formations: Roma v Udinese

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Ranieri hints at employing one striker again; who will it be?

UC Sampdoria v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Roma finally was able to put together a complete 90 minute performance against Sampdoria last weekend resulting in its first clean sheet in ages. The defense was solid, but due to injuries and a suspension there will be changes along the back. Rick Karsdorp joined Davide Santon on the injured list, while Aleksandar Kolarov will be suspended. With that in mind, Roma will hope that Alessandro Florenzi is ready to return from his own injury lay-off. Joining Karsdorp and Santon on the injured list for this one will be Steven Nzonzi who picked up a knock on Friday. Meanwhile, Captain Daniele De Rossi who was monstrous in Roma’s victory at the Marassi is now questionable with a knee issue that occurred during Wednesday’s training.

During Ranieri’s Thursday press conference he admitted to preferring a two striker look. However, he alluded to the fact that he will likely only start one of Edin Dzeko or Patrik Schick Saturday against Udinese.

“I like playing with two strikers up top, but I think that’s how Udinese want us to play. I think I’ll choose one of the two, but I still need to make the call.”

With the success that Roma had defensively on Saturday, coupled with Ranieri’s comments about the strikers, I’d expect to see Roma in a 4-2-3-1 again.

Starting in the back Antonio Mirante should see his third straight start in goal over Robin Olsen. Mirante has added a calming presence to an all too often chaotic back line. His organizing may be vital in what could be a makeshift back line, especially at the wide positions. Kostas Manolas and Federico Fazio should retain their starting spots in the heart of defense.

Juan Jesus should slide out to left back to replace the suspended Kolarov. Meanwhile, Ranieri will be hopeful that Florenzi will be ready to go on the right. He seemed confident that the Italian would be in his presser.

“Florenzi trained separately yesterday and will link up with the group today – we’ll see how he is, then I’ll decide. It could be a back three. Let’s see.”

The midfield two will be made up of Bryan Cristante and De Rossi, as long as the captain is able to overcome his training ground knock. During his presser, Cristante, who has been in all of Ranieri’s XIs, was praised by The Tinkerman.

“He’s a player with massive potential. He made a name for himself at Atalanta but I knew him before that. He’s a box-to-box player – he has quality, gets forward well and has the potential to score lots of goals. I like having him in my team.”

In the attack, Ranieri is expected to employ the same trio behind Schick. That trio will again comprised of Nicoló Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Justin Kluivert. Ranieri also spoke about Kluivert, who has seen an uptick in his playing time under the new Roma CT.

“He’s a lad with lots of potential – he’ll do well. He’s not easy to leave a club where the movement of every player is carefully planned out and come to a different environment, like the one we have here in Italy. He’s adapting very well and I expect a lot from him, just as I do from [Stephan] El Shaarawy, who can score goals as well as being a good wide player. That’s important.”

Corriere dello Sport