One week after dealing with a squad decimated by injury, illness, and suspension, Roma and José Mourinho received a bit of good news today: the impending returns of Nicolo Zaniolo and Stephan El Shaarawy. Of course, now that Mourinho is suspended for two matches following his dust-up with referee Luca Pairetto last weekend, it's not all good news in the Eternal City, but Roma can manage two matches with Mourinho in the stands more than they can stomach two more fixtures with virtually no bench.
But back to the matter at hand:
While he's not included in that Tweet, the Corriere dello Sport reports that Zaniolo (quadriceps), El Shaarawy (calf), and Gianluca Mancini (suspension) have returned to group training and should be good to go for Roma's round 27 matchup against 14th place Spezia, who the Giallorossi handled rather easily in a 2-0 win last December. And there's even more good news for SES and Zaniolo, who won't be fined by the club for their reportedly wild night out on the town last weekend.
With Zaniolo and El Shaarawy back in the fold, our minds immediately turn to formations. Facing a crippled squad last weekend against Verona, Mourinho had to shift things around a bit, playing a back-three with only two nominal center-backs and a frontline featuring Tammy Abraham and Felix Afena-Gyan, the latter of whom seems to be hitting a wall in his rookie season.
However, with Zaniolo, El Shaarawy, and Mancini returning, look for a return to a more stable three-man backline on Sunday against Spezia, one that could potentially see Lorenzo Pellegrini in the hole behind Abraham and Zaniolo.
Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, remains doubtful for this weekend's match but will undergo further testing to see if he can suit up on Sunday.
That's the news for now. Stay tuned for further updates!