It has been a fantastic last 10 days for AS Roma bouncing back after the AC Milan home defeat with three wins in a row in Serie A and in the Europa League midweek. On Sunday they travel to the struggling Parma looking to make it 4 wins in 11 days.
Roma have really come on leaps and bounds since the AC Milan defeat with three wins on the bounce conceding one goal in the process. Wins over Fiorentina, Genoa, and midweek in the Europa League against Shakhtar Donetsk. Confidence is back flowing in this side as it travels to the Stadio Tardini to take on a struggling Parma side looking to escape the relegation zone.
Roma for me put in one of the best performances in the Europa League on Thursday night in the Italian capital against Paulo Fonseca‘s former side Shakhtar Donetsk. The goal midway through the first half was crucial from Lorenzo Pellegrini and it set a marker for the game. Roma has created chances and causing problems from set-pieces but could not grab the second before halftime. That is where Shakhtar Donetsk grew into the game and dominating possession and caused the Roma backline some problems. Pau Lopez had to make a brilliant point-blank save at 1-0 before halftime.
Shakhtar once again dominated possession in the second half and grew stronger into the game. Pau Lopez had to make two brilliant saves to deny Tete at the beginning of the second half and again on Junior Moraes before Roma added the second. Stephan El Shaarawy came on and changed the complexion for Roma, missed a glorious chance before he scored his first goal back since his return in the January transfer window. A wonderful solo effort and my god that second goal was needed, it was good for Roma to kill the game off when Gianluca Mancini made it 3-0.
That was a statement win against a wonderful passing Shakhtar side, on any other day they would have come away win an away goal to take back to Kyiv. Roma have stamped their authority on the tie and need a professional performance on Thursday to make sure passage to the Quarter Final of the Europa League.
The only blot on the copybook from Thursday match was the muscle injury to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Armenian international picked up a calf injury and is set to miss tomorrow’s game away at Parma and potentially the return leg of the Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday evening.
PREDICTED LINE UP | ROMA (3-4-2-1)
Pau Lopez, Mancini, Cristante, Kumbulla, Karsdorp, Villar, Pellegrini, Bruno Peres, El Shaarawy, Pedro, Borja Mayoral
Parma are really struggling for form this season in Serie A sitting second bottom in the Serie A standings with 16 points from 26 games. Roberto D’Aversa is back for his second stint as Parma coach after Fabio Liverani was dismissed after 4 straight defeats on the 7th January 2021. D’Aversa came into steady the ship but Parma’s form has got worse and they are staring relegation in the face and a return back to Serie B.
Parma’s last win in Serie A was on the 30th November 2020 with a 2-1 away win at Genoa. That was Parma’s second and last win of the season to date, the previous Serie A win this season was on matchday 3 a 1-0 win over Hellas Verona. The home and away records are identical this season for Parma. Played 13, won 1, 5 draws and 7 defeats, that is very eery.
Parma are on a run of 17 winless games in Serie A, 7 Points taken from a possible 51 available since the last win over Genoa back on the 30th November. The last 6 games have seen 3 draws and 3 defeats, the three defeats were at home to Bologna, away to Hellas Verona, and at home to Inter Milan. The three draws have been entertaining ones, back-to-back 2-2 at home to Udinese and away at Spezia followed up by a 3-3 draw away at Fiorentina last weekend.
Roberto D’Aversa in his previous spell at Parma was a 4-3-3 disciple and made it work to his advantage. But in his second spell, he has failed to find the right formula, winless in 10 games in charge, and has tinkered a lot with his setup. 3-4-3, 4-3-3, and 4-3-1-2 have been used with no success. 4 points from a possible 30 picked up by Roberto D’Aversa with a point per game average of 0.40.
The key players to watch out for in this Parma side:
With 6 goals and 1 assist in 22 league appearances this season Juraj Kucka has become Mr dependable this season for Parma. Very adaptive the Slovakian international can play in multiple positions in the Parma midfield. Kucka has been played in the defensive midfield role, played as a no10. Out wide on the right midfield and even higher as a right-winger. Kucka has come into form in front of goal with 4 goals in his last 9 Serie A appearances and three in his last five.
The second and final player to watch out for is Brazilian midfielder Hernani. Hernani has been involved in 7 goals this season in 23 Serie A appearances with 5 goals and 2 assists. Like Juraj Kucka, Hernani has been deployed in multiple positions this season in midfield. Played as a defensive midfielder and played out of the right side of midfield. Hernani feels more at home playing in central midfield and has found his form in that position. 16 out of 23 appearances played in the center of the Parma midfield. Hernani has found his scoring boots in Parma last four games with two goals against Spezia and Inter Milan.
PREDICTED LINE UP | PARMA (4-3-1-2)
Sepe, Conti, Osorio, Gagliolo, Pezzella, Grassi, Brugman, Kurtic, Mihaila, Karamoh, Gervinho.
This is the perfect time for Roma to take on Parma in Serie A, Parma are in a battle for survival in the topflight and haven’t won in the league since the end of November. Serie B is staring Parma right in the face, Roma needs to stamp their authority and reclaim a spot in the top 4 after Atalanta‘s win on Friday night against Spezia.