Just last weekend, José Mourinho stated that the main reason Roma has been able to bring in players like Renato Sanches and Paulo Dybala is because of their injury histories. After losing Sanches to a minor muscular issue prior to the Hellas Verona match, it looks as if Dybala, who left that same match due to injury, will, at most, come off the bench against Milan on Friday. Roma fans will hope this is simply the club being cautious rather than foreshadowing issues that may continue throughout the season.
Nevertheless, even if it is the former, Mourinho will have to build his lineup without Sanches and Dybala for tomorrow's match against the Rossoneri at the Olimpico. Meanwhile, Roma’s newest star signing, Romelu Lukaku, is expected to be a part of the bench and could see time as a substitute. Given those updates, it’s expected that Andrea Belotti and Stephan El Shaarawy will form Mourinho’s attacking duo against Milan.
Moving into the midfield, even though Lorenzo Pellegrini missed some training this week, he’s expected to start in the center of the park with Houssem Aouar and Bryan Cristante. And with Dybala out, most of the creativity in this match will have to come from Aouar and Pellegrini. Out wide, it looks as if Nicola Zalewski was able to shake off last weekend’s hard collision and will start on the left with Rasmus Kristensen on the right.
In defense, Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini remain fixtures in the XI. Most publications expect Diego Llorente to complete the back three with them, but there is a chance that Evan Ndicka could make his Roma debut in front of Rui Patricio.
ROMA (3-5-2): Patricio; Llorente, Smalling, Mancini; Zalewski, Aouar, Cristante, Pellegrini, Kristensen; El Shaarawy, Belotti.