After a 4-2 thumping of Empoli prior to the international break, it looked like Roma was set to kick things into high gear against what was seemingly a very manageable stretch of league matches. However, Roma being Roma, the side’s inconsistencies have gotten the best of it in recent weeks, producing two unexpected draws against Genoa and Sassuolo.
The Giallorossi will need to get back to winning ways against Verona this weekend if they are to avoid falling too far behind their rivals for European places. If that’s to happen, someone will need to step up. That being said, here are our picks to click for Saturday’s match at the Olimpico.
In spite of Roma’s struggles to truly get clicking on offense in recent weeks, there’s no doubt Abraham has been one of the most irreplaceable players in Roma’s starting XI. The Englishman added another goal to his total last weekend (albeit from the spot), which now puts him at 18 in all competitions for the Giallorossi. Verona’s defense is not as impenetrable under Igor Tudor as it was under Ivan Juric—having conceded 40 goals in 25 matches—so Tammy could find the time and space to do some real damage in this one.
We often talk about returning exes haunting Roma, so we'll certainly have to keep an eye on Gianluca Caprari who is having his best season ever in Serie A (9G, 6A). But, this time around Roma has an ex-Verona player on their roster who will be looking to impress. With Roger Ibañez out injured and Gianluca Mancini suspended, Kumbulla will have the chance to make the case for more playing time under Mourinho. Whether it be in a three or four-man backline this week, Kumbulla will be relied on heavily to slow down a Verona attack that has scored nearly two goals per match (47 goals—4th best in A) and is coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Udinese.
After a horror show of a match for Rick Karsdorp last weekend against Sassuolo’s Junior Traore, Maitland-Niles could be given a chance to start this match. And if he does, the Englishman will likely have to contend with Caprari and Darko Lazovic running at him. That’s no small task given Caprari’s recent form. However, Maitland-Niles knows that he will need some big performances if he’s to earn a permanent stay in the Italian capital. This will be a good place to start.
After a long spell on the sidelines, it’s understandable that Pellegrini had one of his more lackluster performances of the season against Sassuolo. But, with the Giallorossi attack being subpar in his absence, Roma will need its captain to return to form soon. One can’t help but think that his ability to deliver some killer passes in the final third could be how Roma gets Abraham and Zaniolo in on goal this weekend.
Who is your Pick to Click against Verona?
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