Winners of the UEFA Europa Conference League last season, Roma begin their European journey this time with a face-off against Ludogorets on the opening matchday of the UEFA Europa League 2022/23 season.
Despite spending big and signing some real gems in the summer transfer window, Jose Mourinho’s side has struggled for expected results in the initial phase of this Serie A campaign.
After dropping points against Juventus a fortnight ago, the Giallorossi faced a heavy 4-0 setback against Udinese at the weekend, disrupting the Italian side’s unbeaten streak in the new campaign.
Going up against a Ludogorets side that has not lost a game since getting knocked out of the Champions League play-offs by Dinamo Zagreb will pose a different sort of challenge for the travelling side.
Results in the last five matches across all competitions:
When it comes to the fitness level of his team, Ante Šimundža is not facing any substantial hindrance at the moment. Simon Sluga should get the nod over Sergio Padt in the goal. Brazilian forward Thiago should lead the line for the hosts on Thursday evening.
Nicolo Zaniolo and Georginio Wijnaldum will miss the trip to Bulgaria due to their respective injuries. Tammy Abraham is also unavailable. Andrea Belotti should start the game up front for the Giallorossi. Nicola Zalewski and Zeki Celik should replace Leonardo Spinazzola and Rick Karsdorp in the starting line-up, respectively.
Ludogorets (4-3-3): Sluga; Cicinho, Gropper, Verdon, Nedyalkov; Piotrowski, Rick, Yordanov; Tekpetey, Thiago, Despodov.
Roma (3-4-2-1): Svilar; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Celik, Camara, Cristante, Zalewski; Pellegrini, El Shaarawy; Belotti.
A win for Roma will be massive as they are looking for some positivity after the horrendous 4-0 defeat to the Udine side at the weekend.
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder