With Roma returning to the pitch after more than three months, it’s a bit more difficult than usual to predict Paulo Fonseca’s starting XI. Under normal circumstances, there’d be a run of matches with patterns to follow or players in fine form with a leg up for a starting nod. However, with so much time away from the pitch and not even pre-season training matches to go off of, this week’s probables has fewer certainties.
While scouring my regularly reliable sources in the Italian media, I noticed more variability than usual. But before we discuss the potential starters for tomorrow’s match, there is some good news to mention. Fonseca will have nearly his full array of options for this one. The only players ruled out for this one are Pau Lopez (wrist) and long-term absentee Nicolò Zaniolo, who is ahead of progress in his ACL recovery.
This is a near miracle for a side that has been riddled with injuries throughout the campaign. While it’s a near certainty that injuries will affect the team throughout the summer’s compressed schedule, at least for the time being, the injured list remains short.
While examining the line-ups put out by four sources—Corriere dello Sport, Gazzeta dello Sport, Sky Sport, and EuroSport—there looks to be a few certainties to get the starting nod. With Lopez injured, Antonio Mirante will be in line to get his second Serie A start of the season. Meanwhile, two-fourths of the back-line look like guarantees to start: Chris Smalling and Aleksandar Kolarov. In the midfield, all four outlets have Jordan Veretout as part of the double pivot and Lorenzo Pellegrini playing the trequartista role. Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko will lead the line.
With those six spots set, there are five others that vary across the formation. With Gianluca Mancini only recently returning to full training, Federico Fazio appears in some of the projections. However, if Mancini is fit, I’d expect the Italian to start. Meanwhile, with Amadou Diawara back after a long injury lay-off, Fonseca must choose between the Guinean and Bryan Cristante. Most publications favor Cristante, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Diawara in the XI.
There are certainly plenty of question marks on the flanks, especially at right back. At the moment, it looks to be a dead heat between Davide Zappacosta and Bruno Peres. Meanwhile, it looks like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Carles Perez are being tipped to start over Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Ünder at left and right wing respectively. Thus, Roma’s starting XI should look something like this.