Whenever a new manager takes charge of a club, there’s always some mystery as to what his first starting lineup may look like. Speculation is rife as everyone takes their best guess on how the side will line up, but most managers come with some kind of track record that allows fans and pundits to surmise the formation before plugging in the players' names.
However, in the case of Daniele De Rossi, all we have are 20 or so Serie B matches to go off of—not a whole. And considering how unsuccessful that spell was, it doesn't provide much of a blueprint, certainly not one De Rossi would wed himself to.
During that stint at SPAL, De Rossi generally employed a three-man backline in a 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 formation, leading many to believe Roma will lineup in a similar fashion for his first match in charge on Saturday against Hellas Verona. After all, it seems to be the most natural fit, considering Jose Mourinho had employed a three-man backline almost exclusively for his entire two-and-a-half-season tenure.
As De Rossi acknowledged in his first pre-match presser, this side was generally built in that image. However, he did concede that he and his staff are exploring other options.
“I fell in love with the idea of coaching thanks to Spalletti and Luis Enrique. However, is a team built to play with a three-man defense. We are considering a change of formation, and I won’t rule out the possibility of changing the line-up during the season.”
Will we see one of those options on Saturday? That remains to be seen, but it’s beginning to seem more likely as the week has gone on, with Gianluca Di Marzio of Sky Sport first throwing out the possibility of a four-man backline midweek. Since then, other top publications like Corriere dello Sport have also latched onto the idea.
Also, considering the personnel available to De Rossi for this match, the four-man backline does make sense. With Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante both out through yellow card suspension, Dean Huijsen and Diego Llorente are the only healthy center backs available. Meanwhile, if DDR does opt to go status quo and stick with three central defenders, then Rasmus Kristensen will likely shift into the back three.
With so much uncertainty heading into the match, we’ll throw out two options for this one. One with Roma playing a 4-3-2-1 and one with the 3-4-2-1. We’ll see what DDR ultimately decides in about 24 hours, but for the moment, we’d love to hear how you think Roma should line up in the first match of the Daniele De Rossi era.
Option 1 (4-3-2-1)
Patricio; Spinnazola, Llorente, Huijsen, Karsdorp; Bove, Paredes, Pellegrini; El Shaarawy, Dybala; Lulaku.
Option 2 (3-4-2-1)
Patricio; Kristensen, Llorente, Huijsen; Karsdorp Bove, Paredes, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Dybala; Lulaku.