Following a Roma’s qualification for the round of 16 of the Europa League after a Justin kluivert goal in a 1-1 draw that put them through against Gent in Belgium. Roma return to Italian football to try to make it two in a row after Roma annihilated Lecce in one of the best performances of the season they look to continue as they head out on the road to face Cagliari. It was a 1-1 draw earlier in the season when these two teams played out at the stadio olimpico. Roma will look for Revenge as a VAR took away a perfectly reasonable goal in that matchup that only ended in a tie as Roma were robbed at the death. Paulo Fonseca was given a red card and suspended for three games after his reaction to the decision. It’s time Roma will travel to Sardinia to face a Cagliari team that looks a much different than they did the last time these two teams went head-to-head. Cagliari was one of the underdogs of the Season at least initially. Cagliari has gone from Champions League to mid-table in a matter of months as they have fallen out of the European race at least it seems that way. It is never an easy game in Sardinia as Roma have struggled to get results there over the last couple of years most years they’ve managed to do so but it’s never been easy. Roma will go into this game as favorites as the confidence and momentum that this team lacked in the month of February has been restored and going through in the Europa League will even give them more confidence. Meanwhile Cagliari has hit a wall and has had a hard time adjusting. Will Roma go in to Sardinia and get the job done or will we have an upset on our hands. Roma will be looking for Revenge whether they will get it is unclear but we will find out when these two teams go to battle on a Saturday evening in Sardinia.
A.S Roma 5th 12-6-7 42Pts
Paulo Fonseca has stuck with his 4-2-3-1 formation the majority of the Season. Even when Roma started losing games there was at least A belief that the formation change could be an order but it never materialized. Since Roma have a snap they’re losing streak it’s very unlikely we will see a change to the setup. The team itself also should look very similar to what we have seen over the last couple of games. In goal as always we can expect to see the Spaniard Pau Lopez. Roma’s backline should look more or less the same. At left-back Alex Kolarov beside him we are surely going to see the centre-back partnership of Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling. Then operating at right back we will either see Leonardo spinazzola or Bruno Peres. It’s hard to say which one gets the start but since Spinazzola has been featured more frequently in the Europa League I think Bruno gets the start on this occasion but really could go either way. In the defensive Midfield we will see no change as Bryan cristante and Jordan veretout continue to be pair together while Diawara continues to mend his injury. In the attacking Midfield Lorenzo Pellegrini is continued to be sidelined due to injury mean while henrikh mkhitaryan has thrived since taking over. Having scored one goal and assisting on two others since he has come in for him. In at left wing Justin kluivert the hero of the Europa League match on Thursday surely will return to the starting lineup. On the opposite side we will either see Under or Carles Perez in that spot. I believe Carles Perez will be given his first start in the Roma colors after proving himself in several game so far this season. Then up front as always Roma 6th highest goal scorer in club history edin dzeko. Roma will also have options Off the bench will have options available if needed.
Cagliari 8-8-8 11th 32Pts
Cagliari typically lineup out of the 4-3-1-2 formation. They have really turned the corner this season as they are an incredibly strong team that is just a few points behind Roma. In goal for Cagliari Alessio Cragno. They play with a backline of former Roma wingback Luca Pellegrini, beside him is he center-back Partnership of ceppitelli, Piscane, then at left-back is likely to be Cacciatoree. Cagliari plays with three defensive midfielders in front of the backline with Radja Nainggolan in the middle then Cigarini on the left & Nandez on the right. Sitting just beneath the striker will be Rog in the center-forward position with Giovanni Simeone and Pedro as the strikers. The key player for Cagliari in this match is Pedro as he was been of the best players this season
Roma were seriously lacking confidence and momentum for a large portion of the month of February. As they went in a five-game stretch without a victory. However since they’ve broken their losing streak it seems that the confidence has been restored within the team. It was a really impressive display against Lecce and they did a reasonable job in the two Europa League games against Gent. Even more so the defense has corrected itself the defense was one of the biggest issues during losing streak they are back to playing to the level we expect from them as they have been one of the bright spots of this Roma team this season. On top of that Roma will have a little bit more motivation having been robbed the last two time these two teams played they will be inspired to show them who’s boss on Saturday. Last season when these two teams played during the second meeting Roma responded to a collapse in the first matchup. I think we could see Roma follow suit with a victory on Saturday. Roma still are fighting for Champions League football even though Atalanta do have a significant separation. Their path to Champions League football might be winning the Europa League but none the less Roma will go down swinging as they will try to minimize the deficit between themselves and the high flying team from Bergamo. Roma schedule the rest of the way has its challenges but a lot of them are winnable games and this will be a first test. Cagliari is a good team with quality players and you see that with how they have done this season. However since their hot start they have underperformed significantly and have lost their juice a little bit. They have hit a wall and have had a hard time dealing with that. Nonetheless this team has weapons Juan Pedro is as good as any striker in Italian football this season Roma defense will have a job trying to keep him in check. Also have radja nainggolan and through the Midfield the former Roma player has it been sensational for them. Roma will have a job to do on those two in particular even though they falling out of the European race at least temporarily they have the quality to get back into it. Roma will have a big job trying to shut these guys down. even though that may be the case they have only conceded one goal and their last three games and Roma’s defense is back to playing at its level. From the offense of perspective Roma also have the ability to do some damage on a very breakable defense. The biggest problem in the losing streak was the Midfield and the lack of service from edin dzeko. Since Hendrick mkhitaryan has come in for Lorenzo Pellegrini Roma are much more fluid and playing more open with the ability to feed the attack and their explosive wingers If Roma control the pace of the game and allowed to dictate the match they will have a great chance to win this. With Carles Perez and Justin kluivert on the wing they are incredibly explosive and quick something the defense and may not be able to handle. More importantly they can supply service to edin dzeko Roma will win this game. Its never an easy place to play and roma have struggled there occasionally. However now the confidence has been restored within the team there is a certain belief that they will get the job done. Cagliari will present its challenges but if they stop Pedro from impacting the game the way he’s capable of Roma will win this game. Roma understand what’s at stake and they have to minimize the deficit as much as they can in the Champions League race this is a game they will be motivated for. They will be up for the challenge and then the end Roma will go to Sardinia and take all three points.
Roma’s Projected starting XI 4-2-3-1
GK: Pau Lopez
DEF: Alex Kolarov, Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini, Bruno Peres
DEF MID: Jordan Veretout, Bryan Cristante
ATT MID: Justin Kluivert,henrikh Mkhitaryan , Carles Perez
Striker: Edin Dzeko
Manager: Paulo Fonseca
Cagliari’s Projected starting XI 4-3-2-1
DEFMID: Cigarini,Radja Nainggolan,Madez
CF: Rog, Strikers:Pedro,Simeone
Manager: Rolando Maran
Players to Watch
João Pedro & Justin Kluivert
Date: Thursday, February 30th, 2020
Venue: Sardena Stadium, Belgium
Kickoff: 11:00AM (USA) 5:00PM (ENG), 6:00PM (ITA)
TV Broadcast: Sky Italia