Yesterday, we returned with our picks to click feature for today’s match against Sampdoria. And speaking of clicking, every member of Roma’s starting XI against Atalanta in Bergamo over the weekend did just that.
From the defense locking down Duvan Zapata and the deadly Atalanta attack to the midfield and wing backs springing counterattacking opportunities to the young guns up front finishing their chances, it was a near perfectly executed Mourinho game plan. Like we mentioned earlier in the week, that performance could be a seminal moment in the newest Roma project. So, the mindset heading into this one—at least in terms of formation—will likely be if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Barring some kind of minor knock or fatigue that we're unaware of, Mourinho should run out the same XI as we saw in Bergamo. Two-match weeks can be tough on the legs, especially for some of the veteran players, but with a two-week break for the holiday season, everyone will have plenty of time to recuperate after this one.
The only reason Mourinho could consider a change or two is to protect his two players that are a booking away from a one-match suspension: Roger Ibañez and Bryan Cristante. That hasn’t been Mourinho’s approach this far, but considering Milan looms right after the break, it could be something he considers. If he does try and protect them, then Max Kumbulla and Edoardo Bove, or Amadou Diawara would be the logical replacements.
And if for some reason there’s an early letdown, where some guys aren’t up to par, Mourinho will have his deepest bench in some time, thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy returning from injury and Felix Afena-Gyan from his own one-match suspension. With the return of SES, Roma only has Lorenzo Pellegrini and Leonardo Spinazzola out injured and both of them are also nearing returns, so Mourinho will have some spark plugs off the bench to help get Roma over the line today.