Paulo Fonseca finally received some good news on the injury front this week: Roma will welcome back Bryan Cristante into the fold after months on the injured list.
“Cristante is ready – he trained with us in recent days. He’s okay, although obviously not fully fit, but he’s ready to be named in the squad,” said the Roma CT.
In other good news, Leonardo Spinazzola is healthy enough to make the squad after missing most of the week of training. Fonseca explained that the Italian was out with a virus, not an injury. However, he’s not fit enough to start. Also joining the match day roster for the first time since returning from multiple loan spells is Bruno Peres.
But, of course, this is Roma. So, not all of the injury news is positive, as Federico Fazio and Henrikh Mkhitaryan join Justin Kluivert, Davide Santon, Javier Pastore, and Davide Zappacosta in missing out. Kluivert will return to training next week according to Fonseca.
With so many players out injured and those returning not fit enough to start, there should be few, if any, changes in the XI. The same XI that has started the last two matches, should be seen again from the opening whistle.
If that is indeed the case then Alessandro Florenzi, Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, and Aleksandar Kolarov will defend in front of Pau Lopez. Meanwhile, the double pivot of Amadou Diawara and Jordan Veretout will hold down the midfield. The attack will consist of Diego Perotti, Nicoló Zaniolo, and Lorenzo Pellegrini sitting behind Edin Dzeko.
One thing to keep an eye out for is a potential shift in formation. It was reported that Fonseca was toying with a three man defense in training this week. Fonseca wouldn’t discuss the idea in his press conference.
“I won’t be talking about that – I can’t tell you whether we’ll opt for a three-man defence.”
With Fazio now ruled out that scenario may have become less likely. However, if Fonseca does go with the three it would likely be Mert Cetin stepping into a 3-4-2-1 with Perotti giving way for the extra defender. At this point though, all the major publications still anticipate Fonseca’s standard 4-2-3-1.