clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Probable Formation: Roma vs Inter Milan

It's all business this weekend as a beleaguered and injured Roma side welcomes Inter Milan to the Olimpico. Roma's Champions League hopes are likely on the line, so expect a tense match. Here's how Mourinho may line ‘em up on Saturday.

AC Monza v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Emergenza Totale. Total Emergency.

That’s what Gazzetta dello Sport has termed Roma’s current injury situation. And when you consider just how long the list has gotten, that term is not exaggeration. With Paulo Dybala, Gini Wijnaldum, Chris Smalling, Diego Llorente, Max Kumbulla, Andrea Belotti, and Rick Karsdorp already out, Stephan El Shaarawy was added to that list on Wednesday after scoring Roma’s lone goal against Monza.

Mourinho explained the large number of muscle injuries post-match in Monza:

“Easy. When you have a squad with 30 players on the same level, you should never get muscle injuries. You make a change in the 60th minute, a change in the 70th minute. [Edin] Dzeko and Lautaro [Martinez] play one game and [Joaquin] Correa and [Romelu] Lukaku play the next. That’s not us.

“There’s a team that did terribly in Europe and went out straight away – there are teams like that and they play one game a week. That’s not us. There are teams who didn’t qualify for Europe. That’s not us. We’re the only team that doesn’t have the squad to be where we are. And yet we’re in the semi-final of a European competition. We played an extra play-off round because we came second in our group and we had two extra games against Salzburg. We’re challenging for the top spots in Serie A. We’re doing something we don’t have the potential for, and it adds up.

“Look at how many games [Stephan] El Shaarawy played three years ago, two years ago and this year. Look at [Chris] Smalling: how many games did he play in his last few years at Manchester United, how many under Paulo Fonseca at Roma and how many this year? It adds up. Fatigue has a limit. That’s why I’m with them till the very last minute of this season because these players deserve to have me with them till the last minute, saying the same things over and again – that I’m incredibly proud to work with these lads.”

And while there were shots taken at Inter and Lazio in that explanation, there is a lot of truth to it. The congested fixture calendar is catching up with a Roma roster that lacks quality depth. And now, with Inter arriving at the Olimpico, having scored 12 goals in their last three league matches, Mourinho will have to run out a similarly fatigued line-up without any of the aforementioned players.

Once again, Mourinho will have to rely on a group of players who he recently admitted were fatigued. Most players will have to play the full 90 minutes, which is far from ideal, especially against a team like Inter in such an important match. And fatigue has led to errors that have cost Roma points in recent weeks.

Here Mourinho explained some of those mistakes; like Luca Caldirola’s tying goal for Monza.

“Often your focus is directly correlated to your mental and physical condition. When you’re tired, you lose concentration and physical coordination. It’s not easy. We had players out there who were really struggling with fatigue and yet they gave everything. Players like Lorenzo [Pellegrini], [Gianluca] Mancini and Bryan [Cristante] playing at their absolute limit and playing with the pride that is part of this team’s DNA.

“We have lots of problems. Players who are struggling. Players who are playing despite not being ready to play at this level. It’s hard for us. Our bench options were virtually non-existent.

Given that only Nemanja Matic, who is returning from suspension, rejoins the squad for this one, the starting eleven will be almost identical to Wednesday’s. There will be just two changes: Matic for Zeki Celik, who is suspended after his late red card against Monza, while Leonardo Spinazzola will likely replace El Shaarawy.

After dropping points in their last three Serie A meetings, this could be Roma’s last stand. If Roma can't stun red-hot Inter at the Olimpico on Saturday, then the top four is likely out of reach. If this does indeed turn into Roma’s Alamo, then Mourinho will be praying to the calcio gods that he gets at least a few of these players back for Thursday’s arrival of Bayer Leverkusen. Roma’s Champions League hopes could very well rest on winning the Europa League by then.

Probable Formations

ROMA (3-4-2-1): Patricio; Ibañez, Cristante, Mancini; Spinazzola, Bove, Matic, Zalewski; Pellegrini, Solbakken; Abraham.