AS Roma returns to the bread and butter of Serie A action on Sunday afternoon as they look for a first win since the 7th March.
Roma have gone winless in their three last Serie A games and have dropped out of the race for top 4.
After a disappointing last 3 weeks AS Roma bounced back in style with a fantastic comeback win in Amsterdam against Ajax in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-final. Against all odds, Roma fought back after being their worst enemies for parts of the game to come away from Amsterdam with a 2-1 away win to take back to Rome on Thursday night.
Credit to Paulo Fonseca and all his players on Thursday night, they had to dig deep after a poor end to the first half and a very sloppy start to the second.
The Ajax opening goal from Davy Klaassen could have been avoided after a poor defensive mistake from Gianluca Mancini. Then Roger Ibanez made an error in judgment to give away a penalty to Ajax. Fortunately for Ibanez and for Roma, Pau Lopez stood his ground and saved the penalty. Lorenzo Pellegrini scored moments later after the penalty miss. So, at one stage Roma could have been in all sorts of trouble looking down a 2-0 if Dusan Tadic scored. But Roma fought back brilliantly and got the priceless win and two crucial away goals to take back to Rome.
Pau Lopez deserves the credit and praise thrown his way after his heroic performance in Amsterdam. The much-maligned Spanish goalkeeper has coped a lot of criticism over his tenure at Roma but silenced his critics with a magnificent display between the sticks. Pau Lopez was in ‘proteggimi ovunque‘ mode and fully deserved the praise for the performance on Thursday evening.
I do expect Paulo Fonseca to rest and rotate for the Sunday evening game against Bologna, April schedule is hectic and will test the players and the coach in the final stretch of the season. There was some bad news to come out of the game in Holland, Leonardo Spinazzola picked up a muscle injury 30 minutes into the game on Thursday night and will miss the next 10 days.
AS ROMA PREDICTED XI (3-4-2-1)
Pau Lopez, Mancini, Fazio, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Diawara, Vilar, Bruno Peres, Carles Perez, Pellegrini, Borja Mayoral.
Bologna are the visitors to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening and are currently in 11th place in the Serie A standings with 33 points from 29 games.
This is Sinisa Mihajlovic‘s second spell at Bologna, he came back in the hour of need after Pippo Inzaghi was sacked after a 4-0 home defeat to Frosinone in January 2019. He did an excellent fire fighting job in the 2018-19 season picking up 30 points from 17 games and took Bologna to 10th place in the Serie A Standings.
Tomorrow will be Sinisa Mihajlovic 96th Serie A game in charge of Bologna over two spells. 119 points from 95 games with a points-per-game record of 1.25, he has done a really good job in Bologna and deserves all the credit he gets.
Bologna run of form in the last 6 games has been very up and down, 3 wins and 3 defeats has shown the inconsistency of form this season. The three wins in the last 6 have come against Lazio (2-0) and Sampdoria (3-1) at home and away at Crotone (2-3). The three defeats were two back-to-back away defeats against Cagliari (1-0) and Napoli (3-1).
Easter Saturday, Bologna succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Serie A league leaders Inter Milan. But were very unfortunate to come away with 0 points, they bloodied the noses of the league leaders and were very unlucky to come away with a 1-0 home defeat.
The key player to watch out in the Bologna side is the German-born Italian international Roberto Soriano. Soriano has been involved in 15 goals this season for Bologna in 29 appearances with 9 goals and 6 assists. Roberto Soriano has been ever-present this season for Bologna starting all 29 league games this season amassing 2579 minutes.
He is the central hub to this Bologna side, playing in his natural no 10 position off the striker, Soriano has thrived in Sinisa Mihajlovic’s 4-2-3-1 formation linking up play with the midfield and supplying attacks for the forwards in this Bologna side. Three goals in his last 7 games, Soriano will be looking to add to this against a Roma side lacking confidence in Serie A.
BOLOGNA PREDICTED XI (4-2-3-1)
Skorupski, De Silvestri, Danilo, Soumaoro, Dijks, Schouten, Svanberg, Skov Olsen, Soriano, Barrow, Palacio.
This is an important game for Roma and a must-win, winless in the last three Serie A games. That run of bad form has come at the worst time of the season. We are coming into the business end the final stretch where every point is crucial for the run from now to the end of the season. The winless run needs to end somewhere, and Sunday is the perfect opportunity against a club where Roma won in the reverse fixture 5-1 and put in a clinic of counter-attacking football. More of this Roma on Sunday, please. Not the Roma we have seen in the last three Serie A games.