Roma are coming off one of their most inspiring performances of the season after the Romans came back twice to split points with Red hot Inter Milan. The Romans showed a true character being without several other key players DiFrancesco inspired his team to perform in the absence Pellegrini Dzeko and El Shaarawy. The momentum and confidence that Roma lacked has been restored as they had back out onto the road to space off against Cagliari. Roma won the season series last season winning both meetings between the two teams a year ago. Which included a stoppage-time winner from Federico Fazio which was an important symbolic moment of Roman season as they went on it to secure Champions League. Roma will still be without some of their key players but showing their character that they displayed last week there’s no reason why they can’t find a way to win. Over the last 5 games their form has been very similar to Cagliari but given the confidence level with their young stars Nicolo Zaniolo and Cengiz under Roma know they have all the abilities and capabilities to continue to push forward back into the Champions League places. Roma have been consistently inconsistent but coming off a huge point at home against Inter Milan Roma should be able to do the business away from home but I wouldn’t underestimate this Cagliari side but Roma should have enough to get the necessary points in a big Clash on Saturday night between the two teams that look to raise their ambitions.
Stephan El Shaarawy Edin Dzeko and Lorenzo Pellegrini all remain out with their injuries so Roma will be slightly short-handed once again. However Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore are both fit and could provide key options off the bench but I would be surprised if either starts the match. We should see a very similar team to the one we saw against Inter Milan. Roma showed character and determination in that match and I would be surprised if there’s a lot of changes to the starting lineup. DiFrancesco will likely shake it up a bit but will not disrupt the core that found their way back into that match on multiple occasions. It’s likely that Federico Fazio will return at to the starting defense with Alessandro Florenzi also dropping back into a defensive position after playing in the Midfield against Inter Milan. The majority of the team outside of that is likely to look very similar. With Daniele De Rossi still out with an injury he picked up against Napoli the defensive Midfield Duo of Bryan Cristante and Steven Nzonzi should stay the same. They have made improvements and have flourished together since the injury and I think it is one of Roma’s strongest components on a weekly basis. The Midfield should be fast pacey with young Talent surrounding. Nicolo zaniolo proved to be the real deal against Inter Milan he is a player that’s going to be a huge star for Roma over the next few years. The nineteen-year-old should get another start in Central Midfield we saw his true ability and a sensational performance last week. He should be joined by Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert on the wings. Given their speed and athleticism they will be unbelievably dangerous if the Roma’s attack can get forward. Patrik Schick will be in the main striker of the 4-2-3-1 formation with Edin Dzeko still out for two more weeks the Czech Republic Striker has the opportunity to prove his value on the team but there’s also a downfall if he fails to perform. Roma will have a strong bench this time around with little more options to play with having Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti both back they DiFrancesco will have a few different ways in which he can adjust the team. Nicolo zaniolo I believe will be Roma’s player-of-the-match playing in the Centre of Midfield he has the outlet to control the offense and be the energy I see him being hugely impactful throughout the match.
Cagliari is a team that typically parks the bus and plays defensive football in order to secure points against good teams. It is not what I would refer to as an attractive way to play but they have managed to stay in the league for so many seasons because of these a stale tactics. They happen to have two outstanding players that have the ability to create an offensive outlet through each other. Nicolo Barella as one of the most in demand midfielders one of Italian football’s best prospects. They also have a quite a dangerous striker in Leonardo Pavoletti who has six League goals this season. They have some weapons that could look potentially dangerous however I still think it’s quite likely they will play defensively stacking the box with midfielders to eliminate potential chances from the Roma attack. Due to the defensive tactics it will put a lot of responsibility on Nicolo Barella who I believe is the most important player for Cagliari in this match. If it is a majority defensive game it is his responsibility to feed stair high-scoring striker. Pavoletti will not be able to do it by himself so it will be the job of Barella to try to get him opportunities it is quite clear what they will attempt to do they have more draws than any team in the league this season and that is their aim to try to get another one. They want to avoid a shootout with Roma so because of that they heavily rely on defensive Midfield. Barella will try to ignite an attack occasionally while trying not to leave the defense exposed. He plays huge importance in this game and if he can’t get going then the strikers will not get service.
Roma will be without several key players for this match but still should have enough to find a way to secure the three points away from home. I think we are looking at a defensive battle against an offensive attack. With all the youth that Roma have in their Midfield they are really athletic and fast meaning defensively need to be at their very best or they will leave holes open in their defense. We have seen several times this season that Nicolo Zaniolo has an unbelievable vision and accuracy with his passing which could leave gaps open in the defense with the pacey and quick Justin Kluivert and Cengiz Under. Now while Cagliari are not short of stars with Barella being an absolutely brilliant player it is going to be harder to deal with if defensively they have issues with trying to slow down the flanks. Cagliari in all likelihood will be playing for the draw and will emphasize slowing down Roma instead of a trying to Monument their own attack. They’ve only won three games this season and know if they leave their defense too exposed they know that Roma will take full advantage of it. Roma cannot have another game in which they dominant but fail to score. Roma need to find a way to get going early and often to give them confidence and momentum I think an early goal would do them some good. Despite the lack of Veteran experience that will be featured in the starting 11 their youth has some very athletic players that have the resources and tools to put the defense on the back foot which would force them to do something unexpected. Roma top to bottom is a much stronger team and even if Cagliari opportunities Robin Olsen is one of the best goalkeepers in the country and has the ability to deal with practically anything that comes his way. You have to be really meticulous to catch him out of place Olsen’s vision and reaction time is superb. Due to the stale tactics that Cagliari in all likelihood will run Roma’s best option is to play a long ball football. Try to get on the counter attack as early and as frequently as possible matching the unbelievable vision of Zaniolo and the speed of Under and Kluivert it could be a nightmare especially coming forward. This is a match that Roma will dominate what will be the big moment is whether or not they can put away their chances when they have good opportunities simply put clinical finishing in front of goal cannot be a problem they have to do whatever it takes to make sure there finishing in the final third is up to a standard. Roma also have an advantage off the bench they were dealing with a thin bench prior to the match but now that have Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti are both available they have resources that can help Roma in critical situations. Cagliari will have their moments in this match but I believe Roma will have to find a way to break through on a almost consistent basis they displayed determination and character against a very tough Inter team last week Roma will prove to be the superior side as they attempt to start a winning streak. It will not be an easy by any stretch of imagination But ultimately Roma will do enough to secure the three points that enters them closer to the Champions League places.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alessandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Steven Nzonzi
ATT MID: Cengiz Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert
Striker: Patrik Schick
Roma Manager: Eusebio DiFrancesco
Cagliari’s Projected starting XI 3-5-2
Cagliari Manger: Rolando Maran
Players To Keep You Eyes On
Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo
Cagliari’s Nicolo Barella
Date: Sunday December 8th, 2018
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Cagliari
Kickoff: 11:00AM (USA) 5:00PM (ENG), 6:00PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, ESPN+