Besides the returns of Pau Lopez and Nicolò Zaniolo, the big takeaway from Sunday’s match in Naples was Paulo Fonseca shifting to a three man back line. Roma is expected to continue with the 3-5-2 formation as it hosts Parma on Wednesday at the Olimpico.
Roma still has work to do after falling 2-1 in Naples, but there were more positives to build upon compared to the previous two matches. With his side putting in a better performance, expect far less turnover from Fonseca than we’ve seen in recent matches. After making 10, yes 10 changes, from the Udinese match to the Napoli match, just a handful of changes are expected for this one.
Of course, one of those changes will be forced with Chris Smalling exiting with a muscle strain last match. Smalling is expected to be replaced by Federico Fazio in the new three man defense. Flanking Fazio will be Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez. That trio will sit in front of Pau Lopez, who looked sharp in his return from a fractured wrist.
Meanwhile, only one change is expected along the five man midfield. The central trio of Jordan Veretout, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all currently being tipped to start for the second consecutive match. Pellegrini’s place could be in doubt, but he seems to be favored over Bryan Cristante.
After probably his best match in a Roma shirt, Leonardo Spinazzola looks poised to shift to the right wing back position. This will allow for Aleksandar Kolarov to return to his starting place on the left.
Up front Edin Dzeko will again lead the line. However, Justin Kluivert is expected to lose his starting place after a very pedestrian performance. Carles Perez is expected to replace the Dutchman in support of Dzeko. However, there is a chance that Cengiz Ünder could get the nod.