As Roma looks ahead to the era of one Portuguese tactician, the era of another comes to an unceremonious end. Paulo Fonseca will write his last team sheet as Roma manager tomorrow when the Giallorossi travel to Spezia to close out the 2020-2021 campaign.
For what it’s worth, the Giallorossi are still playing for a European place in what feels like a meaningless match. How you view this match likely depends on whether or not you’d like Roma to finish ahead of Sassuolo and qualify for the UEFA Conference League. Fonseca talked about the importance of victory during his final pre-match press conference.
However, he will have a long list of absentees to deal with as he tries to end his tenure with a victory. In this one, the Giallorossi will be without Lorenzo Pellegrini, Roger Ibañez, Chris Smalling, Leonardo Spinazzola, Amadou Diawara, Jordan Veretout, Pau Lopez, Carles Perez, Riccardo Calafiori, and Nicoló Zaniolo. That’s 10, count ‘em, 10 players ruled out for this one.
Roma is expected to again play a 4-2-3-1 formation, which has become the preferred formation in recent weeks. Daniel Fuzato will have one more chance to impress in goal after a strong derby outing last weekend. In front of him Gianluca Mancini and Max Kumbulla will center the defense. Flanking them will be Rick Karsdorp on the right and likely Bruno Peres on the left.
Moving into the midfield, Bryan Cristante will start in the double pivot. Gonzalo Villar is expected to flank him. Meanwhile, in the attacking midfield Henrikh Mkhitaryan should take the central role with Pellegrini ruled out.
On the wings, Stephan El Shaarawy is expected to start on the left with Pedro starting on the right. Rounding out the XI will he one of Borja Mayoral or Edin Dzeko. With this likely being the end of the Dzeko era in Rome, I could see the Bosnian Diamond getting the nod.