Coming off it’s first win ever at the Juventus Stadium and seven wins in its last eight matches, you’d think Roma would be in fine shape heading to Germany for the Europa League Round of 16 against Sevilla. And while mentally the Giallorossi should be feeling good, from a line-up perspective they enter with some major questions. That’s because Paulo Fonseca will be without both Jordan Veretout and Chris Smalling—two of the most consistent performers in an inconsistent side.
Veretout will miss out on this one due to accumulation of yellow cards. Meanwhile, Fonseca will be without Smalling for the entirety of the tournament (no matter how far Roma advance), thanks to some hardball negotiations from Manchester United. While Smalling will be replaced in the three man back line by Aleksandar Kolarov, Veretout’s replacement is still to be determined.
Starting in the back, Pau Lopez will return to his starting role after Daniel Fuzato was given his Roma debut against Juve. Joining Kolarov in the back three will be Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez. Expect Ibañez to center the trio with Smalling unavailable.
Moving into the midfield, there’s no doubting that Bruno Peres and Leonardo Spinazzola will start at the wing back positions. The lock to start between them in the center of midfield will be Amadou Diawara. Diawara will sit in front of the defense with either Bryan Cristante or Lorenzo Pellegrini replacing Veretout, according to Fonseca.
Meanwhile, as Fonseca’s pointed out, Nicolò Zaniolo will get his second consecutive start. He’ll be flanked by Henrikh Mkhitaryan. That duo will attempt to provide plenty of service to lone striker Edin Dzeko.