It seems like Roma is finally seeing the light at the end of the injury tunnel. This weekend Paulo Fonseca will welcome back Chris Smalling, Max Kumbulla, Leonardo Spinazzola, and Stephan El Shaarawy to his matchday squad. And their returns couldn’t have come at a more perfect time with a trip to Manchester looming on Thursday. However, when asked if any of the quartet would feature on Sunday in Sardegna, Fonseca wouldn’t say.
“They are doing well, they have all trained with the rest of the group over the last couple of days. All of them will be in the squad. Let’s see if one of them starts, but it’s something that we will have to look at very carefully. But I am pleased to have them with us tomorrow.”
It’s probably unlikely that any of the four starts tomorrow after having just returned to full training on Friday. Nevertheless, it’s probably likely that at least a few of them make an appearance in anticipation of Thursday’s Europa League match. The only players to remain injured due to injury are Pedro and Nicoló Zaniolo. They are joined in the stands by Riccardo Calafiori, who picked up a knock against Atalanta, Roger Ibañez who is suspended for this one, and Antonio Mirante who picked up a last-minute knock.
Mirante, who was peppered with shots against Torino last weekend, was expected to start. However, with the veteran Italian being a last scratch and Fonseca unlikely to want to risk Pau Lopez, it could be Daniel Fuzato time in goal. The backline in front of him will be made up of Gianluca Mancini, Bryan Cristante, and Federico Fazio. Meanwhile, we could again see Bruno Peres and Bryan Reynolds start on the wings.
Moving into the midfield, Gonzalo Villar should start and will be joined by either Jordan Veretout or Amadou Diawara. With the Guinean suspended against Atalanta, he’d be the fresher of the two. I’d tip him to give Veretout some rest ahead of the United match.
In attack, Carles Perez and Borja Mayoral seem likely to start. Fonseca will have to decide who to start out of Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. With both needing to be fresh on Thursday, I wouldn’t be surprised the two split the match. I’ll tip Mkhi to start and Pellegrini to come off the bench. However, if Fonseca wants to rest both we could see a surprise Javier Pastore appearance.