Venezia look to put in a final fight against Roma before they eventually face the bitter truth through their potential relegation.
Winning their matches is not an option anymore but has become an obligation for the side visiting Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening. Apart from besting their remaining opponents, they will have to hope that Salernitana and Cagliari lose theirs. Only then salvation is possible. It seems impossible. But there is hope, driven by the Serie A newbies’ 4-3 victory against Bologna last weekend.
Roma will be playing a different game. They eye a Europa League spot. Finishing fifth or sixth doesn’t matter much to them, as mentioned in his recent press conference by head coach Jose Mourinho. Even if they fail to grab the spots as mentioned earlier, they could still book a place in the next season’s Europa League by becoming the champions of this season’s Europa Conference League, where they will play against Feyenoord in the final.
Roma finishing eighth and subsequently winning the first edition of the Europa Conference League could see eight teams from Italy play European football next season, and Mourinho is not unaware of the fact. But he admitted, “This would be fantastic for Italian football but this shouldn’t be done at the cost of injustice and disrespect for those clubs working just as hard as we are.” For the record, the Giallorossi have not won any of their last four games in Serie A.
The current form (last five matches in Serie A):
Mourinho will miss two of his key players, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Gianluca Mancini, for the game against Venezia on Saturday. While the former is injured at the moment, the latter will be serving his suspension this weekend. Marash Kumbulla could replace Mancini in the defence. But whether or not we could see Leonardo Spinazzola in a starting XI pose a bigger question.
Injuries have hit Venezia hard in recent times, with them missing the likes of Marco Modolo, Sergio Romero, and Luca Lezzerini to injuries. Pietro Ceccaroni remains a doubt for the game.
Roma (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Ibanez, Smalling, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Cristante, Veretout, Zalewski; Pellegrini; Zaniolo, Abraha
Venezia (3-4-3): Maenpaa; Ampadu, Caldara, Ceccaroni; Mateju, Vacca, Cuisance, Haps; Aramu, Henry, Johnsen
Roma looked completely ragged against Fiorentina last weekend. Should they come up with a casual mood on Saturday, they are bound to be tested by the eleven men representing the city of Venice in the top flight of Italian football.