Just about a week and a half remains in Roma’s 2021-22 campaign and the Giallorossi still have everything to play for: Mourinho’s side will contest a European final for the first time in 31 years in less than a fortnight, while first trying to secure European football via the league route in its last two matches. With the Conference League final carrying so much weight for a club that hasn’t won a trophy of any sort in 14 years, many wonder if Mourinho should go with heavy rotation in the league to have a well-rested (knock on wood) healthy roster for the match with Feyenoord.
Conversely, that begs the question of whether or not Roma can risk missing the top 6 and not locking up a Europa League spot prior to playing the Conference League finale in Albania on May 25th. Potentially falling out of the European spots altogether is still a real risk and staking qualification on a one-off final is risky business. That’s why it’s more than likely that Mourinho will field as close to his best eleven this weekend when hosting Venezia at the Olimpico. Then, after the results roll in, he can make an informed decision on next week’s match at Torino based on the league table.
Roma did receive a rare assist from the league this week when it was announced that the last match of the season against the Granata was moved up to Friday, giving the Giallorossi an extra two days of time to rest and prepare for the ECL final. That’s potentially big news if the table still needs to be sorted out in a week’s time. Plus, it’ll hopefully give Mourinho a chance to keep his starters in form ahead of the final. But, we’ll pick apart those roster scenarios next week. For now, let’s focus on the match immediately in front of Roma.
When Roma hosts all but relegated Venezia at the Olimpico on Saturday, don’t expect many changes from Mourinho’s preferred starting XI— something that was confirmed by the CT. After all, Roma can’t afford another shocking loss at the hands of the Venetians that could put the Giallorossi in a precarious spot heading into the last match week of the season.
Mourinho: "So there will not be much rotation tomorrow. Perhaps there will be one or two changes, and then one or two different changes against Torino. But we can't make wholesale changes."— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 13, 2022
#ASRoma #RomaVenezia pic.twitter.com/CLs0KSxcTO
In this one, the only absences will be Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who remains in line to return before the final, and Gianluca Mancini, who is suspended for his 15th booking of the season. With Mkhi still out, Sergio Oliveira is currently favored to get the nod over Jordan Veretout. Additionally, Max Kumbulla will slot into the defense in place of Mancini.
ROMA (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Kumbulla, Smalling, Ibanez; Zalewski, Cristante, Oliveria, Karsdorp; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraham