Draw against Genoa forces Fonseca’s hand with defensive changes.
Last week we spoke on how Genoa had not scored three goals in any Serie A match since January 28 against now-relegated Empoli. Showing up in top form looking like they had been practicing all summer, Genoa did not wait one game into the season to replicate one of their best offensive performances in recent memory against a hapless Roma defense. In a match where Roma had a lead not once, not twice, but three times against a historically poor offense, such a result is inexcusable.
First-year coach Paulo Fonseca got his first and hopefully last look at what a center defense of Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus looks like. With their backs turned to the ball, a step or two behind the Genoa attackers, or making an extremely ill-advised slide tackle inside the box resulting in a penalty shot, Roma fans hold their collective breath and pray that the Fazio-Jesus experiment is over after one game.
Lazio, who recently shutout Sampdoria 3-0, will be a good test to see if Roma’s secondary options at centre-back are viable now and in the future. Davide Santon will likely be available to start as will Gianluca Mancini who saw limited action but was on the field for the final game-tying goal against Genoa. Captain Alessandro Florenzi may be pushed up to midfield as Davide Zappacosta made a surprise substitute appearance after only being with the team for a matter of days before the match.
Regardless of the defensive combination, Roma will have to deal with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile who already looks like a contender for Serie A’s top goal scorer after putting up a brace early on against Sampdoria. Immobile has caused headaches for Roma for several seasons now with the most recent being a three-goal defeat back on March 2nd.