AS Roma are looking to bounce back after last weekend’s disappointing capitulation at the hands of Juventus with a more assertive home performance over a depleted Cagliari side.
Roma will be looking for their first win in 2022 and a first win since winning in Bergamo three games ago. Cagliari have started 2022 with a bang with two wins out of two and will be looking for a third against confidence hit Roma side.
For sixty-five minutes last weekend that was a brilliant performance from Roma against Juventus. Jose Mourinho got his tactics to spot on switching from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1. Got attacking players high up the pitch and played to Tammy Abraham‘s strengths. It was all looking good until Juventus made two key substitutions and changed the complexion of the game. Arthur and Alvaro Morata were introduced and that freed up Manuel Locatelli to play further up and the next seven minutes were just inexplicable.
3-1 up to 3-4 down in seven minutes of madness and chaos, I could not believe what I was seeing. A missed penalty and then the rebound was missed just summed up Roma’s last twenty-five minutes of the game.
In all honesty, that performance last Sunday evening was peak Roma, in all my life being a Roma fan that almost topped it. The mental fragility that has dogged this AS Roma team for years and years reared its ugly head again. This was not the first time this season that had happened, we all remember the evening in Norway in October.
Roma will be without four key players in the midfield and the defence. Bryan Cristante and Roger Ibanez are missing through suspension. Chris Smalling is out as well.
It has been a busy week in the transfer market for Roma, three players have left out on loan. Both Borja Mayoral and Gonzalo Villar have joined Getafe who are fighting a relegation battle in La Liga. Riccardo Calafiori has left Roma to join Genoa on loan to the end of the season. In has come Sergio Oliveira on loan till the end of the season from Porto.
PREDICTED XI | ROMA (4-2-3-1)
Rui Patricio, Maitland-Niles, Mancini, Kumbulla, Vina, Oliveira, Veretout, Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan, Abraham.
Cagliari have finally hit some form at the beginning of 2022, two wins to the start of the year have given the club some hope in the battle to avoid relegation to Serie B. The Sardinian side is in the relegation zone in the final relegation spot in 18th position. Sixteen points from twenty-one games and crucially with those back-to-back wins to start 2022 has closed the gap to Venezia in 17th place to just one point.
Cagliari had an awful start to the season; three defeats and four draws saw the Sardinians winless in the opening seven rounds of the season. Leonardo Semplici, who did a wonderful fire fighting job after he was appointed after Eusebio Di Francesco‘s departure, was sacked before the Napoli defeat. Walter Mazzarri came in and managed to pick up a win in his third game in charge against Sampdoria, his old side. What followed was a horrible run for Cagliari and Mazzarri, a winless run up until the winter break of eleven games. What was strange was they all went in a pattern, four defeats in a row followed by four draws in a row then you got it by three defeats in a row to end 2021.
2022 has been a different story, kicked off on epiphany with a brilliant come from behind win over Sampdoria 2-1, and on Tuesday in the last match week was a 2-1 home win over Bologna.
Walter Mazzarri’s preparation for the trip to Rome has been disrupted on Saturday morning with COVID-19 cases and absences from his squad.
PREDICTED XI | CAGLIARI (4-4-1-1)
Cragno, Zappa, Altare, Carboni, Lykogiannis, Nandez, Deiola, Marin, Dalbert, Joao Pedro, Pavoletti