Following Roma’s inconsequential 3-1 loss to CSKA Sofia on Thursday, we’re finally back to matches that really, truly matter for the future of the club. Bologna aren’t Serie A’s most frightening squad (they’re currently in tenth on the table), and due to injuries, nearly half of their quality players are out.
Nevertheless, it’s matches like these that Roma have to win to keep the hope of Champions League football alive, and frankly, it’s matches like these that they should win. When a side like Bologna loses players like Nicola Sansone, Łukasz Skorupski, Riccardo Orsolini, and more, a club like Roma needs to win in a laugher. No ifs, ands, or “but Paulo Fonseca is out with a one-match suspension” excuses. With the returns of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Jordan Veretout looking likely, I’d say the match at the Renato Dall’Ara may actually be a fun watch.
Bologna vs. Roma: December 13th. 15:00 CET/9:00 EDT. Renato Dall’ara Stadium, Bologna.
What To Watch For
Don’t Cha Wish Your GK Was Skorupski Like Me?
It’s no secret that Roma have struggled with finding a long-term solution at goalkeeper this season, with Pau Lopez continuing to, uh, not impress, and Antonio Mirante being slightly better but way too close to 40. If only the Giallorossi had a goalkeeper under contract who was showing himself to be a solid Serie A goalkeeper and under the age of 30! If only Roma had Łukasz Skorupski, right?
Well, maybe not Łukasz Skorupski exactly, for a bucketful of reasons, including the fact that he’s out for tomorrow’s match. Even still, it’s certainly been frustrating to see Roma struggle at goalie this season while Alisson Becker and Wojciech Szczęsny, and yes, even Skorupski continue to ply their wares more successfully elsewhere. Antonio Mirante is most likely out of commission for the match against Bologna due to injury, so Pau Lopez will get one more chance to prove himself as a viable long-term starting keeper in Rome. I wouldn’t hold your breath on that, though.
We’re all certainly hoping to see Tiago Pinto bring in a new, exciting goalkeeper once he starts at Roma, but for now, we can all at least hope that Roma’s attacking corps can hold their own against the former Roman goalkeeper.
As mentioned earlier, both Lorenzo Pellegrini and Jordan Veretout are back in the squad for Sunday’s match, which means that Tommaso Milanese is likely to be starting this one from the bench. Even so, Milanese’s performances for the senior side to date imply that he and Riccardo Calafiori are both ready for more game time, and with Amadou Diawara not exactly impressing recently, it just might be his moment. If the Giallorossi are able to get up 2-0 or 3-0 on this depleted Bologna side, expect to see Milanese get some minutes; even if it’s a tighter match, I’m hoping we might get to see more of the midfielder.
Is A Two Striker Formation In Roma’s Future?
Borja Mayoral came into Rome with relatively low expectations. Sure, he was from Real Madrid, but he was expected to be Edin Džeko’s understudy, and if he could do a better job than Nikola Kalinic or Patrik Schick in that role, every Romanista I know would be satisfied. Fast forward to the present, and Mayoral has been staking out a nice reputation for himself with the Giallorossi, looking more and more in-sync with Paulo Fonseca’s tactics by the week. He actually has the same goal tally as The Bosnian Diamond this season (and with a better goals per minute ratio), making some people suggest that the Spaniard could force Džeko to the bench sooner rather than later.
Paulo Fonseca isn’t on the “Bench Džeko” train yet, and for good reason: it takes a lot more than four efficient goals to bench one of Roma’s all-time goalscorers. However, Roma’s increased depth at striker is reportedly making Fonseca consider trying out a two-striker system in the near future, giving Džeko the playing time he deserves while allowing Borja Mayoral the chance to continue developing into a player more than worth his €15 million option. We might not see this from minute one against Bologna, but as Fonseca puts in substitutions late in the match, it would certainly be interesting to see how well Mayoral and Džeko can fare together on the pitch. I’m hoping it might be the missing piece needed to truly unlock Roma’s attack.
Match Prediction Time!
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Easy win, and Tommaso Milanese gets to make a sizable appearance in the second half.
Hard-fought win, no youngsters see the pitch.