Probable formations: Roma vs. Specia


The Giallorossi host Monday Night Calcio on the peninsula this week to collect three crucial points. Spezia comes to town for Jose Mourinho’s side after losing the league in a row. Roma enter the game in 8th place for the time being while the remainder of the game board is completed. And if this weekend has taught us anything, it is that there are no easy games in Italy’s top division. Just ask Juventus, AC Milan, Napoli and Lazio about it.

These four teams lost all points on sides in the lower half of the league. This gives Roma the opportunity to catch up with Juve in sixth place while overtaking Lazio and the surprise team Empoli. Spezia will not be a pushover however, as the Roma’s recent history against this team suggests. And in order to achieve victory, Mourinho will forego some crucial parts.

Mourinho will do without a quintet of Italian national players this time: Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicoló Zaniolo, Stephan El Shaarawy, Gianluca Mancini and Leonardo Spinazzola. Carles Pérez has also been banned from the coach while Rick Karsdorp and Tammy Abraham are returning from their own suspension for one game.

With so many key players missing, it is likely that Roma will stick with a back three. That is something Mourinho said he doesn’t mind playing with it, while at the back he also highlights the differences between three and five.

“I don’t like playing with five in the back, but I don’t mind playing with three [and two full-backs slightly higher up]. I really don’t mind playing with three in the back. To play in this system with broad players who are not full-backs but are more offensive players who can also adapt and help out with the defensive. But I don’t like playing with flat five in the back, no. “

If this is indeed the case, Max Kumbulla will step in for Mancini’s place with Roger Ibañez and Chris Smalling.

With so many of his most important attacking players missing, Mourinho only has to make one other big decision in his starting XI: the second forward position alongside Tammy Abraham. It will depend on Borja Mayoral and Eldor Shomurodov, while Mourinho also brought Felix’s name into the mix.

“It’s true that Borja and Tammy played well together. And it’s also true that we don’t have Zaniolo, Pellegrini, El Shaarawy and Carles Perez available. So this pair is a possibility. But there is also Shomurodov who could play, there is also Felix who could play. We have a few options in this position.

After a strong performance against CSKA Sofia in the Europa League on Thursday, one would think Mayoral should have a head start on Uzbekistan.

Roma (3-5-2): Patrick; Ibañez, Smalling, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Mkhitaryan, Cristante, Veretout, Viña; Mayor, Abraham

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