Roma are coming off a Coppa Italia round of 16 4-0 victory over Virtus as a find themselves in the quarter-finals of the competition. League action returns this week after Italian football’s winter break. Prior to the break Roma had won three out of their last four. This Roma team is ready for the second half of the season as it will be very important that they start hot and try to maintain it as long as possible. Roma only find themselves two points out of 4th Place with an opportunity here to get into the Champions League spot if other results go their way. They stay at home as they host Torino at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Another team that finds themselves within Reach of European football. These two teams played on the first match day of the season with Roma winning 1-0 at the very death of the match thanks to an Edin Dzeko strike in stoppage-time. In what will be a hugely important match for both teams given a position in the league standings. Roma are a much stronger team at home then are on the road with only one loss this season. Roma’s going to this game as slight favorites but securing the three points will be easier said than done with the possibility of winning the season series in what will be the final matchup between these two teams..When the Romans and El Toro go head to head on a Saturday afternoon in Rome as Italian football returns.
Roma played a lot of Reserves in their Coppa Italia victory on Monday night. Eusebio Di Francesco gave rest to a lot of starters because he understands the importance of these first three games in the new year. Despite some of Roma stars returning from their injuries Roma are still having injury concerns. Daniele De Rossi Stephan El Shaarawy Diego Perotti and recently Steven Nzonzi all remain out for this fixture and Beyond. It is likely that Roma will return it to their starting defense for this much important fixture against a strong team. As Florenzi and Manolas will likely be returning to the starting lineup. Robin Olsen it’s fresh having played in the cup on Monday and should be ready. Where things get a little complicated is in the defensive Midfield. As always Bryan Cristante will be ready for the challenge. However with his usual partner Steven Nzonzi Outs Roma will be forced to make an adjustment. It is highly likely that Lorenzo Pellegrini will drop back and play the defensive role something he has done in the past as he started a majority of his games in that position last season. Lorenzo Pellegrini is an excellent player and he is capable of that role but at the same time he is most effective in the central Midfield which is a mild concern. Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini have not played out of the defensive Midfield together other than the cup on Monday. It might get some getting used to but if they work well together and do their job it should not be an issue. In Roma’s attacking Midfield I suspect it will be a very young Trio. With Nicolo Zaniolo Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert all who are which under the age of 21 years old. Then up front as the main Striker I think Edin Dzeko returns although I would not rule out the possibility of Patrik Schick getting another start after a two-goal performance on Monday. My key player for Roma will be Robin Olsen after seeing his performance on Monday he is ready for the challenge that lies ahead. Roma’s attack will sort of itself but defensively Roma must do everything they can to get a clean sheet and I believe Robin Olsen will be a huge part of that.
Torino find themselves in the ninth in the League this season but just a very small three points behind Roma. In the first meeting Torino took them to the very end and were really strong throughout that match the Opening match day of the season. Without question Torino have a strong enough team to get something from this match. However there away and they aren’t great away from home and they only have one win in their last five. I suspect Roma will have a plan and strategy and how to break them down. Unlike some other teams in the situation I don’t think they’ll be that defensive I think they will go for it as much as possible. They are not a Counterattacking team but if they can create some influence in the Midfield they will be able to create some chances the problem is they will have to find a way to fool Robin Olsen who has been one of the best goalkeepers this season. On their own front they have to defend well even though I think it’s unlikely they will play defensive they still have to take care of that part of the game. They must do everything they can to avoid a hot start from the Romans. This game actually has more importance then it might suggest. Torino need to start playing better as soon as possible. They have the desire for a Europa League spot as Champions League I believe is not a realistic expectations for them but in order to do that they can’t start this year on a wrong foot. This comes to the most important part of this team Andrea Belotti importance in this game is massive. I know they have other weapons but if he does not have a great game or has little impact it is going to be hard for Torino to manage a high-flying Roma that’s on a winning streak. Andrea Belotti will be my key player for this match if he can be at his best there’s definitely a chance Torino can steal something from under Roma’s nose.
The bottom line is this these two teams battled in the opening day of the season in what was highly contested and very competitive match. Edin Dzeko struck for Roma at the very end of the match in stoppage time to win 1-0. These teams are a completely different places now and will have a game plan in how to strategically and tactically break each other down. For Torino is quite simple control the wings and try to give service for Andrea Belotti to get in good space to take chances. At least as the offensive strategy for Torino defensively they have to be able to control what Roma can push forward. That is on the defense and on the goalkeeper they have to try to keep this game tight because if Roma get hot it’s going to be really hard for them to come back for the first time this season Roma are consistent and Torino will be well aware that. For Roma it is quite simple get on the counter-attack as much as they possibly can. Torino will not be able to match the pace that Roma have on the outside. Roma is the better team by quite some distance and has more weapons to their disposal. The speed Roma have with Justin Kluivert Cengiz Under and even the likes of Nicolo Zaniolo has some speed on him. This will be hard to stop because of the attacking minded Defenders they have in Kolarov and Florenzi they have a Crossing ability to switch fields allowing their young Wingers to take advantage and pounce on the opportunities. This is not to mention Edin Dzeko is back and ready and if given service he could be really dangerous. Torino need to find a way to force Roma into short passing situations they cannot allow a Roma to beat them with the long ball. They have speed athleticism youth and a clinical Striker who was capable of finding the back of the net if given service. The counter-attack is absolutely essential For Roma if they get forward it is good night to Torino. I imagine this game will be very tight and very close both of these teams are exceptional but I believe Roma just have a little bit more to play for they understand the importance of a hot start to the new year and fourth place is achievable Roma do not want to start this year with a poor results. Roma know what they need to do everyone have counted them out of the Champions League Roma are confident they have momentum. Torino’s form over the last few games has not been great and they’ve just been eliminated from the Coppa Italia this is not a team in great confidence and I believe Roma will pounce on that to secure what should be a vital three points. Torino will not come to the Stadio Olimpico and beat Roma.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-3-2-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Alex, Kolarov, Federico Fazio, Kostas Manolas, Alessandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini
ATT MID: Cengiz Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert
Striker: Edin Dzeko
Manager: Eusebio Di Francesco
Torino’s Projected starting 11 4-3-3
DEF: De Silvesetri , N’Koulou, Burdisso, Ansaldi
ATT Midfield: Baseelli,Rincon, Acquah
Front Three: Belotti, Niang, Falque
Manager: Walter Mazzarri
Players To Keep your Eye On
Roma’s Robin Olson
Torino’s Andrea Belotti
Date: Saturday Janurary 19th, 2018
Venue: Stadio Olompico, Roma
Kickoff: 8:00AM (USA) 2:00PM (ENG), 3:00PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, ESPN+