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Roma Faces a Red-Hot Servette Side in Crucial Europa League Fixture

A positive result tomorrow will see Roma qualify for the Europa League knockout stages. All that stands in the way is a scorching hot Servette side, winners of six-straight matches.

AS Roma v Udinese Calcio - Serie A TIM Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

With football essentially being a 24/7/365 sport, it can be hard to gather your bearings. The news cycle moves so swiftly, dropping new sound bites and generating new mini controversies daily, it can be difficult to remember what actually happened on the pitch. Despite that noise, Roma's fixture list has featured three distinct phases: 1) the horrible start in which they lost five of their first eight matches, 2) the October recovery featuring five-straight wins, and 3) the November grab bag (2W, 2L, 1 D).

But cast your mind back to late September/early October—what do you remember?

Roma had a slow start to the season but bounced back with a 7-0 rout of Empoli and a narrow 2-1 win over FC Sheriff in their Europa League debut on September 21st. However, their success was short-lived as they failed to secure victories in consecutive matches, including a humiliating 4-1 loss to Genoa. Although Roma managed to redeem themselves with a 2-0 win over Frosinone on October 1st, it was uncertain whether this win was a turning point for the team or simply a lucky occurrence.

When they faced Servette on October 5, the outcome was a mystery. Roma could have just as easily wiped the floor with their Swiss counterparts as they could have succumbed to another crushing defeat. Their form was simply too scattered to make an accurate prediction, but fortunately for us, José Mourinho had a pretty definitive game plan in mind.

Last Match

October 5, 2023: Roma 4, Servette 0

After the usual settling-in period, Roma blew the doors off the Stadio Olimpico, kick-starting a four-goal binge in only the 21st minute when Romelu Lukaku finished off a tidy three-touch sequence involving Andrea Belotti and Zeki Celik. Roma would add three more goals, including a brace from Andrea Belotti and a well-struck volley from Lorenzo Pellegrini, finishing off a four-nil win with a flourish.

With Roma leaving the comforts of home behind to face a Servette side that has won six straight matches, things won't be quite as easy as they were in October. Still, with a positive result tomorrow, Roma will qualify for the knockout rounds, while a win would put them in position to win the group when they face FC Sheriff on December 14.

In the meantime, here are some key storylines ahead of Roma's Group G clash against Servette.

Keep An Eye On

Stephan El Shaarawy

While lineup selections aren't exactly state secrets on par with the Manhattan Project, Mourinho keeps his cards close to his chest. However, despite the cloak and dagger that can surround lineup choices, Mourinho announced that Stephan El Shaarawy will start Thursday's match.

Devoid of context, that's not exactly earth-shattering news. However, when you consider Sardar Azmoun's absence (he wasn't included on the UEFA roster), the club's injury history, and load management concerns up top (Dybala and Lukaku, respectively), El Shaarawy has to deliver tomorrow.

Servette's Scorching Form

Servette, just like Roma, had a difficult start to their season. However, unlike the Giallorossi, they have turned a definitive corner. Since September 27, the Swiss team has won nine of twelve matches, earning 29 points in all competitions. Moreover, they have been in excellent form during their current six-game winning streak, posting a +10 goal differential.

Roma may have handed Servette one of its worst defeats this season, but Servette's win streak and Roma's poor road record (two wins from eight) could make for a long evening in Geneva tomorrow.

Match Details