When Roma reopens it’s 2019/20 Europa League campaign with a visit from Belgian side Gent on Thursday at the Stadio Olimpico, don’t expect a drastic makeover to the starting XI. Amadou Diawara, Nicoló Zaniolo, Davide Zappacosta, Javier Pastore, and Antonio Mirante remain out for this one. Meanwhile, Bruno Peres, Juan Jesus, and Roger Ibañez were left off of Roma’s UEFA roster.
Paulo Fonseca’s midfield choices will again be conditioned by the above injuries. With Diawara back to training but nowhere near ready to play, the duo of Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante will be reformed; neither started in Saturday’s loss to Atalanta.
With Cristante returning to the center of the park, Gianluca Mancini will return to his natural center back position. He will look to reform the rock solid partnership with Chris Smalling. Romanisti have grown accustomed to seeing that duo in front of Pau Lopez. Flanking them will be Aleksandar Kolarov on the left and likely Leonardo Spinazzola on the right. However, there is a chance Davide Santon is given the nod over his compatriot.
In attack, the omnipresent Edin Dzeko will lead the line. Sitting behind the Bosnian will be Lorenzo Pellegrini. The young Roman has been criticized for his recent lackluster performances, but Fonseca expressed his full confidence in Pellegrini.
“There’s no need for excuses. He had an injury but he’s overcome that. The problem is the moment of the team and he’s one being asked to take responsibility. He must try to stay balanced and have the desire to change things quickly. We must all stay balance, Lorenzo included.”
Fonseca didn’t hint much at personnel during his prematch presser. However, he did clear up one of the biggest doubts for this one. The Portuguese CT confirmed that Carles Perez will get his first Roma start.
Opposite Perez will likely be Justin Kluivert, who is currently being tipped over veterans Diego Perotti and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Pau Lopez, Spinazzola, Smalling, Mancini, Kolarov, Veretout, Cristante, Carles Perez, Kluivert, Pellegrini, Dzeko