- Lorenzo Pellegrini
- Tammy Abraham
- Leonardo Spinazzola
- Rick Karsdorp
- Stephan El Shaarawy
- Felix Afena-Gyan
Those half dozen players will be unavailable for Saturday’s crucial home match when Roma hosts defending Scudetto winners Inter Milan. And for a team coming off a difficult road loss to Bologna—and in desperate need of a win against one of the league's best sides—that's a heavy half-dozen.
When all of those players are healthy, at least four of them are sure-fire starters for the Giallorossi. And now Mourinho must formulate a starting eleven to go toe-to-toe with what many rate as the strongest side in the league, all while not having his starting striker (Abraham), chief creator (Pellegrini), and top fullbacks (Spinazzola and Karsdorp). In addition, he’s without one of his hardest workers (El Shaarawy) and a spark plug off the bench (Felix). That’s no small task.
Predicting Roma's starting lineup becomes even more difficult when you consider the fact that Mourinho won't hold a press conference ahead of the match, meaning there will be some guesswork in this week’s probable formations.
With so many players absent, there won’t be much mystery surrounding the actual personnel Mourinho will utilize against Inter. Instead, the biggest question revolves around whether Mourinho will continue to play the 3-5-2 of recent weeks or shift back to the early season 4-2-3-1.
It seems more likely that the back four will return given the personnel available to Mourinho. With the suspension of Karsdorp and the injury to El Shaarawy, Roma lacks a reliable and disciplined-enough wingback to defend down the right flank. Therefore, it’s more likely that Mourinho will utilize unbalanced fullbacks—much like his Inter days when Maicon would bomb forward and Chivu would play more defensive.
If this is indeed the case, Roger Ibañez will play the Chivu role on the right side with Matías Viña playing the more offensive full-back role on the left. Also, without Abraham, running out two strikers is very unlikely. Therefore, I expect Roma to line up as follows: