Last weekend against Verona, José Mourinho had a decimated roster. Between injuries to Roger Ibañez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Stephan El Shaaraway, a suspension for Gianluca Mancini, and numerous Covid cases, the Giallorossi were down nine players. Couple that with the starting elevn putting in one of its worst performances of the season to date and things were looking glum for Roma down 2-0 to visiting Verona. However, the teenagers who were manning a thin bench came through to salvage Roma’s third consecutive draw.
This weekend, Roma regains Zaniolo, El Shaarawy, and Mkhitaryan, but Felix Afena-Gyan and Sérgio Oliveira have taken their place on the trainer’s table, so José Mourinho (from a distance due to his own two match suspension) will have to make a decision. Does he throw a couple of the newly returned players into the fray or does he give one of the teenage heroes from last week a shot?
While we won't know that until the lineups are announced prior to kick-off, one thing is for sure: Roma will shift back to a three-man backline with the return of Mancini. He’ll rejoin Chris Smalling and Max Kumbulla as Roma hope to sure up what has been a leaky backline.
With Oliveira out and Mkhitaryan unlikely fit enough to start, Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante are likely to man the double pivot, but keep an eye on Edoardo Bove, who may have earned a start after an impactful performance off the bench last weekend.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Matías Viña should start on the wings with Rick Karsdorp pushed to the bench. The one returning player who should start is Zaniolo, especially with Felix ruled out. Rounding out the attack will be Lorenzo Pellegrini and Tammy Abraham.
ROMA (3-4-1-2): 1 Rui Patricio; 23 Mancini, 6 Smalling, 24 Kumbulla; 15 Maitland-Niles, 17 Veretout, 4 Cristante, 5 Viña; 7 Pellegrini; 22 Zaniolo, 9 Abraham.