Unless you’ve been living under a rock this season, you’re already aware of Roma’s well noted injury issues. Those issues got exponentially worse when Roma’s umpteenth ACL issue struck Nicoló Zaniolo on Sunday. In addition to Zaniolo, Javier Pastore, Davide Zappacosta, Federico Fazio, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all remain out injured. Factor in Edin Dzeko’s two match suspension in the Coppa Italia and it all adds up to Roma being extremely short handed, particularly in attack. However, in a bit of good news, Fonseca confirmed that Justin Kluivert and Davide Santon are fit and available after prolonged absences.
“[Bryan] Cristante is ready, he’s been training for a week. [Justin] Kluivert has only started this week. He is ready to play. [Davide] Santon has recovered and also started training with us. All three are ready,” said Fonseca during his presser.
Mid-week cup matches are usually used by managers to provide some key rest to some regular players. Starting XIs run out for matches like this are a delicate balance of starters and reserves— a lineup strong enough to win, but with key players being rested. Unfortunately for Fonseca, like we’ve seen too many times this season, his personnel decisions will be dictated by outside factors— namely injuries and suspensions.
Starting in defense, this could be a match for Antonio Mirante to get some work. The Italian hasn’t played much, but when called upon during Pau Lopez’s brief absence, he was excellent. With both Alessandro Florenzi and Aleksandar Kolarov suspended on Sunday, expect both to start in this one. Fonseca will wait until then to worry about his lack of fullback options. Center back is one position where we may see some turnover where Mert Cetin could spell either Gianluca Mancini or Chris Smalling. However, most projected line-ups favor the two regulars.
Meanwhile, with the return of Bryan Cristante this past weekend, Fonseca finally has another option in the double pivot. Expect to see the Italian starting alongside Amadou Diawara in place of a recently subpar Jordan Veretout.
Lastly, with options so limited in attack, it will almost certainly Diego Perotti, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Cengiz Ünder playing behind Nikola Kalinic. After his prolonged absence, Kluivert is more likely an option off the bench. There was hope that Matteo Politano would also make the traveling squad, but the transfer couldn’t be completed in time.
PARMA (4-3-3): Sepe; Darmian, Dermaku, Iacoponi, Gagliolo; Barillà, Scozzarella, Kucka; Kulusevski, Inglese, Sprocati.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Mirante; Florenzi, Mancini, Smalling, Kolarov; Cristante, Diawara; Under, Pellegrini, Perotti; Kalinic.