With the season winding down, Roma are finally fielding nearly a complete roster, meaning Caludio Ranieri will have various options when Roma travel to Sassuolo on Saturday looking to keep the pressure on Inter and Atlanta in the Champions League race. Ranieri commented on some minor physical ailments during his press conference saying,
“Zaniolo’s calf is a little hardened, so he’ll do some individual work. Pellegrini’s problem isn’t serious: it’s the problem he had before, which has got worse, but I think he’ll be available on Saturday. If he isn’t, he surely will be next week.”
However, it looks like Zaniolo should be good to go and there’s a chance Pellegrini will recover. Meanwhile, Gazzetta dello Sport is listing Davide Santon as questionable. The good news all those players made the traveling squad. However, there was a late injury to Kostas Manolas’ ankle, which will force him to miss the trip.
Roma is expected to continue employing the 4-2-3-1, which has been more or less a constant under Ranieri. The backline was expected be the same one that has performed well together during most of Roma’s seven major unbeaten run, until Manolas was injured Friday. That means Antonio Mirante, who picked up his fifth clean sheet in nine matches, will start in goal. In front of him will be the seemingly reborn Federico Fazio and likely Juan Jesus in the center. The fullbacks will be Aleksandar Kolarov on the left, and last week’s hero, Alessandro Florenzi, on the right.
In front of the defense is where there will be some decisions to make for Ranieri. There are likely three positions up for grabs heading into the weekend. The biggest one is in the double pivot where Ranieri must decide who flanks Bryan Cristante. Steven N’Zonzi is coming off probably his best game in a Roma shirt, but with the big news breaking this week, N’Zonzi starting is up in the air. Ranieri will have to decide if he rides the hot hand and uses De Rossi off the bench or give his Captain the start in his penultimate match.
In the attacking part of the formation, Edin Dzeko at striker and Stephan El Shaarawy on the left wing are locks to start. However, the right wing position is currently up for grabs with most publications giving Justin Kluivert a slight edge over Cengiz Ünder; despite the latter shining off the bench against Juve. Meanwhile, the trequartista position likely depends on Pellegrini’s health. If he’s ready to go then he could start. Otherwise we could see Javier Pastore or even Zaniolo, who shined in that position against Sassuolo the first time around.