Serie A PREVIEW | Roma v Bologna

After securing safe passage to the Europa League semi-finals, Roma welcome top-five rivals Bologna in a six-pointer clash.

Roma have been on a roll since the appointment of manager Daniele De Rossi as they have lost only twice across 17 games, winning 12 of them. Despite going a man down in their previous outing in the Europa League quarter-final second leg versus Milan, they defended properly while goals from Gianluca Mancini and Paulo Dybala helped them post a 3-1 scoreline on aggregate.

Currently sitting 5th in the league standings, the Giallorossi are aiming for a return to the Champions League next season as five teams from Italy will feature in the competition’s new format. They have a three-point gap between chasing pack Lazio and could even finish in the top four due to Bologna playing an additional game. 

Evan N’Dicka has been passed fit after he collapsed on the pitch during the match versus Udinese which was suspended. Roma will aim to have a positive home crowd on their backs to reduce the point deficit to their opponents in the Serie A table to just one. 

Meanwhile, Bologna will aim to do the double over Roma for the first time since 1967 after securing a 2-0 victory in December’s reverse fixture. 

Thiago Motta has developed a mid-table outfit into a top-four contender this season as he hopes to have his team in the Champions League’s next edition even if he does not stay as their manager. 

Since winning 3-0 over rock-bottom Salernitana earlier this month, the Rossoblu have been frustrated with two consecutive goalless draws against Frosinone and Monza. However, they remain one of the Serie A’s most durable teams as they have lost only once in their last 12 matches with the loss coming against league leaders Inter. 

Results from their last five matches across all competitions

Roma:

W W W D W

Bologna:

D D W W L

Team News

Roma are set to be without Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian suffered a muscular knock in the game versus Milan. Tammy Abraham could start in his place after his long injury layoff. 

Evan N’Dicka will be out for a few matchdays and either Diego Llorente or Chris Smalling is set to deputize in his place. Dean Huijsen might return to the pitch after being left out of the Europa League squad list.

As for Bologna, Lewis Ferguson’s ACL injury is set to force Thiago Motta to change his formation as he looks to play Joshua Zirkzee upfront as the sole striker. 

Giovanni Fabian and Michel Aebischer are expected to start in midfield. Alexis Saelemaekers returns after serving his one-match ban.

Predicted XIs

Roma (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Llorente, Angelino; Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, Abraham, El Shaarawy.

Bologna (4-1-4-1): Skorupski; Posch, Lucumi, Calafiori, Kristiansen; Freuler; Orsolini, Aebischer, Fabbian, Saelemaekers; Zirkzee. 

 

Trambak Bhattacherjee | GIFN

 

 

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