If you’re a fan of turnover then you were probably fairly pleased with Jose Mourinho’s starting XI on Thursday in Ukraine. For the Conference League victory over Zorya, we only saw four of Roma’s regulars in the starting XI: Rui Patricio, Roger Ibañez, Bryan Cristante, and Lorenzo Pellegrini. And Pellegrini was coming off a breather after serving his derby suspension.
So, for the last match before the international break when Roma hosts Empoli on Sunday, the Giallorossi XI should be fairly fresh. And because of the limited amount of minutes played by his regular starters on Thursday, we should see the Giallorossi return to what has been the status quo thus far.
That means Patricio—who is now the only player to play every minute this season after Gianluca Mancini was rested on Thursday— will start in goal. The backline will be comprised of Rick Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibañez, and Matias Viña going across the backline from right to left.
Moving into the midfield, Jordan Veretout will return and Bryan Cristante should start yet again. One thing to keep an eye on is that Cristante is one caution away from an automatic suspension. And with Juve looming after the break, Mourinho may have to manage him if the way the match plays out allows for it. That could mean some minutes for Ebrima Darboe, who impressed in his first match action against Zorya.
In the attack, Tammy Abraham will lead the line after scoring and hitting the woodwork off the bench in Ukraine. He’ll be supported by Pellegrini in the hole. Meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicoló Zaniolo should start on the wings, despite Stephan El Shaarawy starring on Thursday.