It has been a week since we last saw Italian football as we are coming off a week-long international break. Over the first two matches of the season, Roma picked up two draws against Genoa and the derby of Lazio. The Roma looks to improve on that as they host sassuolo at the stadio Olimpico in Rome. Last season Roma won the season series picking up four points of a possible six against them with a 3-1 and 0-0 draw. However, a 0-0 draw that they suffered away at Sassuolo late in the year promptly ended their desire for Champions League football finishing 6th. It hasn’t been an ideal start for Roma but they will try and build on this facing a tough opponent on Sunday afternoon. Sassuolo annihilated Sampdoria in a 4-1 victory behind a brilliant display from Berardi scoring a 14-minute hat-trick getting his season off to a great start. It is a match but even though it’s early in the season it feels like a must-win for Roma they got a very difficult start to the campaign with two very challenging matches now it’s their job to pick up some momentum and starting to picking up points on a regular basis. This will be a tough matchup for both sides when Sassuolo makes the trip to Rome on Sunday. Will Roma get their season on the right track? Or will Sassuolo find a way to pull off the upset? We will find all that in more when these two teams throw down on Sunday afternoon in the Italian capital.
Roma added a few players prior to this transfer window closing. Securing loan deals for Hendrick Mkhitaryan, Chris Smalling, and Nikola kalinic as they look to give Roma some much-needed depth with their Europa League campaign upcoming this week. Unfortunately more bad news on the injury front. Cengiz Under Roma’s explosive Turkish Winger has picked up an injury that will keep them out for 5 weeks. In addition to that Chris Smalling Roma’s new center back picked up an injury as well the extent of how long he will be out is unaware to me at this time but he’s doubtful for Sunday’s match. It is very likely that Paulo Fonseca will have a very similar team in terms of formation. In goal in all likelihood will be Pau Lopez. The Roma backline should look very similar. Leonardo spinazzola is all but back from injury. If he is fit and ready to play he could start in Roma’s backline next to Alex Kolarov. Ideally, he would play that position at left-back but Kolarov has a played too well to be brought to the bench. So there’s a serious possibility of playing Kolarov at left-back moving Leonardo spinazzola to Center back next to Gianluca Mancini. Then Roma’s Captain Alessandro florenzi will surely get to start at right-back. This is where it might get a little tricky with Genghis under out with injury it could change the formation slightly. If I’m being totally honest I don’t feel that comfortable having Bryan cristante on the bench this game is a little bit more important then their game and midweek so from my perspective they can’t take him out of the lineup yet. In the defensive Midfield, I would put Bryan cristante and Jordan veretout next to each other. With Adama diarra certainly starting the game midweek. Between those three it’s really hard to figure out what the right situation is but all good options regardless of what Fonseca will put together in the defensive Midfield. In the attacking Midfield Lorenzo Pellegrini will go into central Midfield as he comes a little forward. On the wings, we should see Nicolo zaniolo and Hendrix Mkhitaryan making his debut. Justin kluivert did really well in the opening matches of the seasons. However the youngster I think will be very well suited in the Europa League so I think to bring him to the bench in this match which somewhat makes sense. Then up front, as the main striker is likely to be edin Dzeko & they have Nikola kalinic for the Europa League this week they have a surplus of options.
Sassuolo is a strong team with a great manager in Roberto De zerbi who may be the most valuable part of this team. The team did tremendously well against Sampdoria and looking for a real challenge at the Olimpico against Roma. They played in the 4 3 2 1 formation last week and since it had so much success I would find it hard to believe that they make drastic adjustments in the way they set up their team. There will be adjustments made for the most part there’s no reason to believe that their tactics strategy within their team isn’t capable of giving Roma trouble. In goal there should be no change with Consigli patrolling the goal. At left-back, we should see Peluso with the center-back partnership of Santos and Ferrari with Mulder right back. The defensive Midfield Trio is very strong with Alfred Duncan obiang and Locatelli. In the center-forward position right behind the strikers is likely to be traore who is a cracking player. Then be incredibly formidable Berardi and Caputo as the strike partnership. The key player has to be Berardi providing he is as inconsistent as any super talent type player in Italian football for his team to win this game he has to prove he can put in another stellar performance.
Despite the fact that Roma was handed to incredibly tough games to start the season we cannot make this excuse after this weekend. I know it’s only two games into the season and there’s no real reason to panic but it is essentially a must-win. If Roma drop points again or lose we could have a serious problem on their hands. Roma will be at home at the Stadio Olimpico again a team with significantly less talent. Roma has the quality to pick up their first win of the season. It will be interesting to see how they handle the injuries I believe Roma will still be able to strive with all the options and depth they have at multiple positions. Roma does have A Europa League match in the middle of the week but nonetheless, they’re going to put their best foot forward in this match. Even though sassuolo is a very strong team Roma have the personnel to deal with it. This is an attacking-minded team that seemed that is capable of scoring a lot of goals, especially in Paulo Fonseca’s system in the way he plays attacking football. Offensively its could be incredibly effective a large part of that I believe will go to the Midfield. From the defensive Midfield set up to Lorenzo Pellegrini and Bryan cristante they incredibly skilled passers. They have the opportunity and the skillset to create space and try to get on the counter-attack as frequently as possible. This is a team that even in their disappointing draw in their previous game against the Lazio they got on the counter-attack often if they continue to do that this weekend and are able to show that consistency of coming forward it’s going to be a huge problem for the opposition. They will be without Cengiz under who is one of these fastest players in the league that could be a problem in those sort of attacking situation but nonetheless, they have a very lethal surplus of options to fill still that void. The attacking aspect of this won’t be the issue. In addition to that Roma have a fantastic young goalkeeper who showed real quality in the derby. However, the real problem exists in Romans backline. The Roma defense cannot allow sassuolo into this game. Defensively they need to be much better in a lot of areas it is a huge liability and I presume that is how sassuolo will attack Roma in terms of getting some sort of superiority in the game. They did make improvements in the second game especially with Mancini and Fazio making some really great clearances in the derby. However, that won’t be enough Roma need an inspiring performance from their entire back if we see improvements Roma could show control. Sassuolo has some great attacking options in Caputo and Berardi the problem with that is consistency if they can repeat a strong performance that they put together last week They could pull off an upset. I think this will be incredibly difficult for Roma but Roma’s attack heavy to heavy not secure the three points. Roma’s job is simple limit mistakes if they’re able to do that especially in the defensive area they will win this game. It will be tough and there will be low moments throughout the 90 minutes on Sunday but given the attacking mismatch, Roma should be collecting all three points this weekend. Berardi and Caputo are incredibly strong players but they inconsistency problems I have never seen Berardi put together back-to-back inspiring performances which will neutralize their attack. I’ll say it again this is a must-win match for Roma anything below or less than that would be a huge disappointment the Romans will find a way.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Pau Lopez
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Leo Spinzzola Gianluca Mancini, Alessandro Florenzi
DEF MID: Bryan Cristante, Lorenzo Pellegrini
ATT MID: Diego Perotti, Nicolo Zaniolo, Cengiz Under
Striker: Edin Dzeko
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Sassuolo’s Projected starting XI 4-3-2-1
DEF: Peluso, Santos, Ferarri, Mulder
MID: Duncan, Obiang,Locatelli
Center forward: Traore
Striker: Berardi, Caputo
Manager: Roberto DeZerbi
Players to Watch
Roma’s Lorenzo Pellagrini & Sassuolo Berardi
Date: Sunday September 15th
Venue: Stadio Olimpico
Kickoff: 11:00AM (USA) 5:00PM (ENG), 6:00PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia, ESPN+