Following a week of utter chaos for Roma, it’s time to put that all behind them and focus for a Monday night clash at the Stadio Olimpico against Empoli. In the last week, Roma has faced elimination from the Champions League lost in the derby Eusebio Di Francesco has been sacked Claudio Ranieri has been hired and on top of all that Roma sporting director, Monchi quit. A lot of stuff but they’re still a football match to play and an important one at that. This will be the second meeting between Roman and Empoli after Roma beat them away from home earlier this season. Roma had a chance and opportunity for a season sweep while Empoli is looking to take advantage of Roma situation and pull for an upset. It was a tough battle in that 2-0 wins earlier this season and they’ll surely they will be up for it again. Roma still has a slight chance at Champions League football this season and the way Inter Milan is playing they cannot allow themselves to drop any more points almost for the rest of the season. They are in a tight Champions League race with Lazio Atalanta AC Milan and Inter Milan. While Empoli is three points out of the relegation Zone a result could secure safety or at least make it more confrontable that still remains in the balance for the most part. In the prime time slot on Monday night we will see a Roma team under new management hoping to turn up their season around over the 12 games remaining. They will host Empoli at the Stadio Olimpico who will do anything they can to try and pull off the upset. It should be a hugely competitive clash between two teams who need points for very different reasons.
There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding how Claudio Ranieri set up his new Squad ahead of a very important fixture. To make matters a bit hectic Roma has a lot of injuries and players out due to the suspension which is going to make things rather difficult. Cengiz Under, Manolas, Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Pastore, De Rossi, Dzeko, Fazio, and Kolarov will all miss due to either injury or suspension this makes things very difficult and nerve-wracking ahead of a really important game that Roma need to win. Even though I don’t really have much idea what formation Claudio Ranieri will go with my assumption is it will be a 4-2-3-1 formation due to the team he has to his disposal. Defensively was a lot of guys out I suspect he will go with Rick Karsdorp and Alexandro Florenzi on the outside and then the pair of Ivan Marcano and Davie Santon as a center backs. It is a little concerning back there because of the lack of game time this season collectively from Roma the back line. Roma’s defensive Midfield should be made up of Steven Nzonzi and Bryan Cristante two players who have a lot of experience playing next to each other this part of Roma’s lineup could be key. Roma’s attacking Midfield I suspect will be very different from the one we saw earlier this week. On the wings, we should see El Shaarawy on one side Justin Kluivert on the other end because of the situation forcing Diego Perotti to control the middle. The striker up front should be Patrik Schick the team that really doesn’t have any other options. Without question, this is good enough to get three points against a team on the bottom half of the table the team collectively must come together and deliver because there will be limited options off the Bench due to all of the injuries. The key player for me has to be Stephan El Shaarawy because of the way he moves with and without the ball he can create separation making him an extremely dangerous asset if he is at his best and believe Empoli will have a hard time dealing with him.
Empoli has lost two of their last five games they have been able to pick up a big win and two draws over that stretch but it’s not the form you want to come into a game like this. The Stadio Olimpico is an incredibly tough place to play Roma have only been beaten twice at that Stadium which is why Empoli needs to be at their very best throughout the match. Empoli is coming off a very exciting and thrilling 3-3 draw against Parma it should give them some confidence ahead of this game. As far as how they line up I suspect their team will come out very defensive. They have used the 3-5-2 formation almost exclusively this season and I don’t think there’s any reason to change that going into this one. They use four midfielders to protect their backline while having a goal scoring threat in front. Caputo will be really important he is a huge threat to score when given service it may come down to whether his teammates can provide that for him. When he’s in space he can find the back of the net with no issues he’s very consistent in front of goal when given the opportunity. The defensive lineup is to preserve themselves from the possible attacks they will face from the Roma. They want to make things as tough as possible I’m unsure what their tactics will be within the formation but in a game like this they cannot take a risk of changing how they line up it is my belief that the midfielders will be incredibly important and they have to play at their best to control the median it is very hard to get points against top teams but Roma has struggled against the bottom half of the league but it’s going to be a bit unpredictable given that Roma may look a little different because of the new manager. Protecting their back line will be really important but at the end of the day if Caputo doesn’t get service and is unable to score they’re going to have a problem. If an upset is going to happen it’s going to rely on his ability to get space in front of goal.
With everything that has gone on to Roma over the last week, they need to respond with a performance to remember. There are 12 games left they have an opportunity and a real chance at Champions League football if they get on a run. Roma truly needs to forget what happened prior to this moment start from scratch and start over this is the best way to do this. At your own place at the Stadio Olimpico against a team fighting for survival, a big performance is required for Roma. Everything is in their favor I can say what I say every time they have better players there more structurally and tactically put together and have all the ability to the get to the Finish Line. The question is with the injuries can they adapt to the circumstances and give an excellent response or will they allow Empoli to get one too many chances. Empoli might dictate Roma’s strategic attack from there’s perspective I feel like they’re going to play long ball football and try to break down the inexperienced defense Roma will have to put up with due to the injuries. They’re going to be very defensive try to prevent as little opportunities as possible whilst feeding their Striker. That is the best way to counter-attack what Roma is going to try to do. From Roma’s perspectives, they need to use their speed and athleticism that they will have on the outside to break down the defense and make them as uncomfortable as possible. Justin Kluivert when running maybe the fastest player in the league. I fully expect he will get the start defensively he’s going to be a problem especially if Roma get forward on the counter-attack. Roma’s in Midfield is going to be really crucial they want to give as many opportunities to Patrik Schick as they possibly can. Even though he’s not having the best season he is come in in several games for Dzeko and has scored goals. If service is given to him he will eventually find a way through whether it will be created or scored himself or through service. However, the most important things for Roma is the defensive Midfield Bryan Cristante and Steven Nzonzi need to prevent as much attention on their side of the field as they can. They have the attacking mentality with the set of skills this is why the pairing of them and how they perform together could completely change the game based on how Empoli will react to it. It goes back to trying to start a counter attack in those situations even though Empoli will try their best to prevent it from happening if Bryan Cristante can figure out a way through and create a counter it’s going to be very hard to stop. Diego Perotti Stephan El Shaarawy and Justin Kluivert all possess speed passing ability and intelligence. If they combined and play collectively together and they get those opportunities they’re not going to let them pass them by. Raneri will know how to use his new players what they have done before this doesn’t matter anymore. However with all that being said an upset isn’t out of the question and Empoli will play Roma extremely tough and make them uncomfortable I have seen this team operate out of all the teams in the relegation Zone they are easily the most dangerous if you fall asleep they will catch you sleeping. Which is why I’m a little concerned about Roma’s backline giving all the injuries they’re going to have to play really well Roma will dominate this game but Empoli might just have moments where they can convert. It is going to be an extremely tough task at the Stadio Olimpico but the place will be rocking for Claudio Ranieri on his debut as a manager they will be there for the team and make things as uncomfortable on them as possible. In the end, Empoli will create resistance making it as tough as they possibly can on this Roma team but I think this Roma team will be energized and will find a way to the three points as Claudio Ranieri will start on the right foot.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-3-2-1
GK: Robin Olsen
DEF: Rick Karsdorp,Davie Santon, Ivan Marcano, Alexandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Steven Nzonzi, Bryan Cristante
ATT MID: Stephen El Shaarawy,Diego Perotti,Justin Kluivert
Striker: Patrick Schick
Manager: Claudio Ranieri
Empoli’s Projected starting XI 4-3-2-1
Players to Watch
Stephen El Shaarawy
Date: Monday March 11th, 2019
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Kickoff: 2:30PM (USA) 8:30PM (ENG),9:30PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, ESPN+