If there’s anything I hate about covering Roma, it’s the lulls we endure during the international break. It’s manageable enough if there’s a transfer window coming up or a tournament like the World Cup or the Euros on the horizon. The mid-October break, though, feels practically useless: the matches usually have little bearing on who ends up in a tournament squad going forward, and more often than not, the break results in a Roma player picking up an injury.
This go-around of the international break looks promising for a number of Roma players, though, because a couple of key players are already injured going into it. Renato Sanches, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Paulo Dybala are all out dealing with injuries that should resolve themselves slowly but surely over the next few weeks — while Diego Llorente and Chris Smalling are nearly guaranteed to return to Roma’s disposal when the club faces Monza after the international break concludes.
In addition to those five likely returning to the field after the international break, it also looks like Italy U-21 international Edoardo Bove will be missing time with the Azzurrini due to an ankle issue he picked up against Cagliari. While it’s never good for a player to pick up an injury, Bove getting the time to recuperate away from regular matches by having this injury now is a win for Roma, especially given how Bove the Bulldog (we’re gonna keep trying nicknames until one of them sticks, okay) has slowly but surely become a consistent presence in José Mourinho’s starting eleven.
He may not be putting in goals at a consistent clip like Romelu Lukaku, but he is developing into the kind of player every midfield needs: a box-to-box enforcer who allows technically-minded players like Leandro Paredes and Lorenzo Pellegrini the space to create beauty on the pitch. Roma needs him at his best, so as much as it’s always great to see players climb their way through the Italian National Team’s system, a hiatus from Azzurrini play for Bove could be just what the Giallorossi need heading into a tough several weeks of football.
And make no mistake, the Giallorossi are certainly staring down a tough run of matches once they return to the pitch post-international break. While the match against Monza isn’t the most terrifying opponent Roma could face, facing Slavia Praha twice, Inter once, and Lazio once between October 26 and November 12 will be a serious gauntlet for I Lupi to manage.
Given Roma’s poor start to the season, I’m not expecting a win against Inter; honestly, I’d be satisfied with a 0-0 draw. Yet a consequence of every dropped point Roma has fumbled away to start this season is that the squad is treading on thin ice in every Serie A match going forward. Wins are absolutely necessary against the Monzas and the Lecces if the club has any hope of competing for a Champions League spot. Fortunately, the international break may allow the Giallorossi the time they need to recuperate, enabling rotation when possible so that the club can put forward a starting eleven that can compete and win in every match going forward.
That is unless another injury happens on this international break. Everybody knock on wood, okay?