We are coming off the opening week of the Season as Serie A kicked off last weekend. We saw some drama some pure excitement and some superb goals. Eusebio Di Francesco and his Roma team opened up their campaign away at the Stadio Grande Torino in Turin as they went to battle against a very strong Torino team that pushed Roma to the brink. Roma rescue the three points late as Dzeko put away a Justin kluivert cross into the back of the net to seal three points on Sunday afternoon. Seeing Roma’s season start in late drama we look ahead to Roma’s season opener on Monday Night Football. Roma will play host to an Atalanta team that cut through recently promoted Frosinone in a 4-0 thrashing winning their first Opening match day in 10 years. This was largely behind the heroics of Atalanta loyalist Papu Gomez who had two goals and two assists on Monday night. These two teams split the season series during last year’s campaign with Roma beating Atlanta away from home and Atlanta beating Roma at the Stadio Olimpico last season. As we know it’s a new look Roma against an Atlanta team that lost Caldera and Bryan Cristante but nonetheless a strong team as they face off in Rome against a Roman team capable of hunting for the title a game that should provide excitement and a great football on a Monday night Thriller.
We saw a lot of positives from Roma last week away at Torino I think that will only continue going forward as they want to make a good start at home. Di Francesco typically operates out of the 4-3-3 formation and I suspect he will continue that in this game. We could see slight modifications to this Roma team in terms of lineup selection. I suspect there will be no change in the defense and we will have a very similar Midfield however Steven Nzonzi Roma’s 30 million euro signing from Sevilla is expected to be available for this matchup. I think we could see a three-man Midfield of Steven Nzonzi Javier Pastore and Daniele De Rossi. Bryan Cristante will be expected to take over in Midfield after a few games I fully intend that he will be a starter for this team as he is a superb midfielder playing against his former team in this match. But I think Di Francesco wants to ease him into it rather than just throwing them out there. Roma should see a very similar attack but would like to see Patrik Schick in for El Shaarawy as well as the spark plug of Justin kluivert. The impact he brought off the bench will make Roma think about starting him but I think the impact he had in late in the game will continue at least for a few weeks as being a key substitution. Roma have all the tools to put in another excellent performance. Last week Roma did an excellent job in chance creation they just need to be more clinical when they’re in scoring positions but I expect them to push on from the Midfield using the wings of Florenzi and Kolarov to influence the attack. Roma’s key player for this game I believe is none other than Edin Dzeko the Bosnian International saved Roma at the death last season and did an excellent job through the 90 minutes he impacted the game in several different ways. He is one goal away from going to 10th on Roma’s all time scoring list and I expect him to do that he will be the most dangerous piece to deal with because of his ability with ball control as a passer his size and his goal scoring ability like I mention every week is imposing size at 6 foot 4 in attacking situations will be incredibly difficult to deal with against a relatively small backline from Atlanta he will be able to do what he wants and have the freedom he needs to dominate the game.
Atlanta is coming off a very impressive win against Frosinone however it’s been a rather small sample size and despite their domination of that game. Adjustments will be necessary to take on a team like Roma. They beat the team most people have at the very bottom of the table quite but they played tremendously well in the match but they can’t just hope for that against Roma as well. I think Atlanta’s attack will be fueled around Papa Gomez they need to get him going as early as possible to have success. This is a team that I believe can give Roma problems but they’re going to have to push from the back while concretely keeping defensive shape. They did a lot of things well last week but they must improve defensively they looked a little bit shaky at times what did well enough to get the three points necessary they have to find other ways to score other than the Brilliance of Papa Gomez because if he is the only impactful player at least in the attack Roma can use their energy to neutralize him. This is a very well-coached well-disciplined team that has the ability to continue to play at this level. I don’t expect many changes from the team last week there’s no real reason to do that they don’t have the depth that maybe Roma have where they can make that sort of decisions but based on the team that we saw last week I suspect no changes and the formation will probably stay the same as well. Operating out of the 4-3-2-1 Papa Gomez is the easy answer as a key player but I’m going to go a little bit different for this Atalanta team. I think the key player for them in this matchup is not Papa Gomez because that’s what everyone is expecting I believe it is a Musa Barrow the youngster has already proven the quality of the player. There’s very little to go off which is why I believe he can make an unexpected impact in this match.
Atlanta have given Roma trouble over the last two seasons and I truly believe they will make Roma earn the three points but ultimately I see Roma coming away with a win. Roma have went through a lot of changes this season and seeing them put on display against Torino have proven they have got something special here and coming off of that dramatic win they want to be able to defend and protect the Stadio Olimpico will come into this game very confident to do so and I believe there’s not a situation where they don’t win their home opener. It has to be said 6 of 7 losses came at the Stadio Olimpico but their Champions League home form was perfect they unbeaten. Those are obviously different situations but if Roma can play the way they did last season in Europe at home they will make things very hard for Atlanta. Don’t get me wrong Atlanta has the players to do it they still have a very strong team. But they have weekend defensively with the departure of Caldera and they don’t really have a big playmaker in Midfield now that with Bryan Cristante is in Roma I believe this will make things difficult for them. Roma will dominate possession and get the majority of the chances. I know Di Francesco is going to work on executing the opportunities they get in practice this week. Roma offensively will have a lot of scoring opportunities I believe this week they will convert on more of them it would be very hard to stop them if they get the chances they got last weekend and are more efficient with the ball if they are clinical in this game they will be very hard to stop because of the amount of chances they’ll be able to create. Roma defensive strategy will be to neutralize Papa Gomez he has not scored against Roma and several meetings which will put the weight on the shoulders of their young and relatively unproven players to make it happen for them. I believe they will try to defend as strong as possible but with the options Roma have on the bench in crucial situations I see Roma being able to cut through the defense and ultimately getting a couple goals. I think this will be a very tough man because Atlanta is not a joke there are very strong team with the ability to beat Roma but with the team Roma have and all the options they have throughout this team with the depth this team has they will be very hard to slow down if they get onto the attack Atalanta will push them and make them work for everything but in the end as good as Atalanta is Roma will just have too much and pick up the three points in their home opener.
Roma’s Projected starting 11 4-3-3
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alexandro Florenzi
DEF: Danielle Javier Pasotre,Steven Nzonzi, Danielle De Rossi
Front Three: Cengiz Under, Patrik Schick , Edin Dzeko
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Atalanta’s Projected starting 11 3-4-2-1
GK: Pierlugi Gollini
DEF: Andrea Masiello, Berat Djimsiti, Rafael Toloi,
MID: Robin Gosens, Remo Freuler ,Marten De Roon, Hans Hateboer
Wings: Papu Gomez, Mario Pasalic
Striker: Musa Barrow
Manager: Gian Piero Gasperini
Roma’s Edin Dzeko
Atalanta’s Papu Gomez
Date: Sunday, August 27th, 2018
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kickoff: 1:30PM (USA) 7:30PM (ENG), 8:30PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Itaila, ESPN+