Despite Roma losing to Cremonese on Tuesday, there was a small victory for the Giallorossi in the form of Gini Wijnaldum putting in a full 90-minute shift. After missing six months with a broken leg, it was his first start and first time playing extended minutes in a Roma uniform. His presence should give Roma’s midfield a boost the rest of the way as Mourinho’s side tries to return to the Champions League places.
With Wijnaldum playing the full 90 just five days ago—his first appearance longer than 17 minutes on the season—it’s hard to imagine him starting again. Therefore, expect him to provide a boost off the bench in this one, with Bryan Cristante and Nemanja Matic starting in the center of the park.
The Giallorossi will have a fully fit squad on Sunday—a rarity this season, considering Wijnaldum’s long absence. Nevertheless, there are some concerns about Lorenzo Pellegrini, who dealt with flu-like symptoms earlier this week. The latest reports are suggesting he’s good to go from the opening whistle. Stephan El Shaarawy will be ready if Roma’s captain has any kind of setback.
Aside from Pellegrini’s availability, the only other position that is in question is right wing-back. Most sources on the peninsula are giving Nicola Zalewski a slight edge over Rick Karsdorp. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Dutchman get a start considering he’s the more natural fit against Filip Kostic, who will be attacking down Roma’s right.
One place where there is no doubt is along the backline. Roma will receive a boost there with the return of Chris Smalling from suspension. He’ll rejoin Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez. The same can be said of the attack, which will be led by Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala. Rounding out the XI is Leo Spinazzola, who will look to continue his fine form of the last few matches.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Ibañez, Smalling, Mancini; Spinazzola, Matic, Cristante, Zalewski; Pellegrini, Dybala; Abraham