Roma enter the 2020-21 campaign with a squad that is still very much evolving. Thanks to the Covid forced changes to the transfer market, the Giallorossi are working later into the summer than ever to try and mold their squad for a new campaign. Because of so many comings and goings in recent days and the days to come, Paulo Fonseca will be working with a bit of a short deck today.
For the first match at the Bentegodi against Hellas Verona, Fonseca has called up only 21 players. Missing from the list are injured players Nicolò Zaniolo and Javier Pastore. Also, missing is Bruno Peres who is making is way back from a positive Coronavirus test. Also, missing from the squad list are players like Diego Perotti (also injured), Federico Fazio, Juan Jesus, and Robin Olsen who Guido Fienga is actively shopping.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 18, 2020
Here’s our travelling party for Saturday’s Serie A season opener against Hellas Verona!
#ASRoma #VeronaRoma pic.twitter.com/72YhNnJ6cT
As you can see Edin Dzeko, Pedro, and new arrival Marash Kumbulla all made the traveling squad. However, all are highly unlikely to start. With Dzeko likely days away from a move to Juventus, it wouldn’t be in Roma’s best interest to see him injured. Meanwhile, Pedro is working his way back to full fitness from a shoulder injury suffered with Chelsea and Kumbulla has only trained with Roma since Thursday.
Roma is expected to start this match in a 3-4-2-1 formation. But with Dzeko and Kumbulla unlikely to play and Chris Smalling still stuck in limbo in Manchester, Roma enter the match without a true striker and only two center-backs. Fonseca will have to get creative.
With Dzeko likely on the bench and no other striker on the roster, Fonseca will look to Henrikh Mkhitaryan to lead the line as a false 9. Playing behind him in the attacking midfield positions will be Lorenzo Pellegrini and Carles Perez. Meanwhile Jordan Veretout and Amadou Diawara will hold down the central midfield positions.
In the wing-back positions expect to see Leonardo Spinazzola on the left and Rick Karsdorp on the right. Meanwhile, to make up for the lack of options in defense expect to see Bryan Cristante centering Roger Ibañez and Gianluca Mancini. Lastly, reports point toward Antonio Mirante getting the nod over Pau Lopez in goal.
When Fonseca was asked about the goalkeeper position at Friday’s presser, he simply replied, ““We’ll see tomorrow.”