It’s been quite the week in the Romaverse. From the Giallorossi’s palpitation-inducing victory over Spezia on Saturday to the arrivals of Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Reynolds to the Dzeko drama, which looked to be ending with a near swap for Alexis Sanchez, we’ve been busy here at CdT. Yet, for all the action off the pitch after the Spezia victory, there’s still a match to be played on Sunday. And an important match at that.
Roma were able to survive Spezia without its first-half MVP, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, as well as Gianluca Mancini, Pedro, and, of course, Dzeko. This week Fonseca gets Mkhitaryan back from injury plus Mancini back from suspension. However, Pedro and Mirante remain out and so does Dzeko—whose Roma career may be heading towards an unceremonious end. Other than that, Paulo Fonseca has a mostly healthy roster.
Mirante remaining out means Pau Lopez once again starts in net. After looking strong against Inter, Lopez lost the script in the back-to-back matches against Spezia—Roma will need him to be better against Hellas.
In front of Lopez, I’d expect Fonseca to go with his preferred back three of Mancini, Chris Smalling, and Roger Ibañez. However, the manager did indicate that Max Kumbulla could start against his former side.
There won’t be many question marks heading into this one, but central midfield remains up in the air. Jordan Veretout will need a partner in the center of the pitch and Fonseca will have to choose between Gonzalo Villar and Bryan Cristante. Gazzetta currently tips Cristante (55/45), so we’ll go with the Italian.
Flanking them on the wings will be Leonardo Spinazzola on the left and Rick Karsdorp on the right. Moving into the attack, Fonseca confirmed that Mkhitaryan will return to the starting XI. He’ll partner last week’s MOTM, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and that duo will support youngster Borja Mayoral who will again lead the line in place of the absent Dzeko.