In nothing short of a minor miracle, the overall health of the Giallorossi continues to improve. Nicoló Zaniolo returned to first team training this week, while Pau Lopez also continues to creep closer to a return. So, even though the result on the pitch left a lot to be desired this weekend, the Giallorossi can count their blessings in this area; one where they’ve suffered all season.
Despite the short injured list, Fonseca will also be without Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini against the Zebrette on Thursday. Both midfielders will miss out on this one due to yellow card suspension. Thus, we should expect a decent amount of turnover again for this match, as Fonseca manages the suspensions and player fatigue for Roma’s third match in eight days.
Even though there was optimism for Lopez returning from his wrist fracture for this match, it doesn’t look like he’s quite ready. So, as of now, Antonio Mirante is again expected to start in net. In front of Mirante, Fonseca’s preferred center back pairing of Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini are expected to start together for the second consecutive match. Meanwhile, for the third straight match, expect a complete full back rotation with Bruno Peres and Aleksandar Kolarov replacing Zappacosta and Spinazzola.
Moving into the midfield, Gonzalo Villar could be presented with a big opportunity. The young Spaniard is currently being tipped to start alongside Bryan Cristante in Veretout’s absence ahead of Diawara. In this pairing, Cristante would take on Veretout’s role with Villar sitting deeper as a regista.
Meanwhile, Javier Pastore is expected to start at the trequartista position in place of Pellegrini. On the right wing, Cengiz Ünder is currently favored to get his first minutes since league play resumed. Meanwhile, Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both look to be locks for their third consecutive starts at striker and left wing.