AS Roma are back to the nation’s capital to take on Atalanta on Thursday evening in a massive midweek game that could shape up the top 7.
Roma will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing result away in Turin against a side who has eyes for 2nd spot in Serie A.
It was another European hangover for AS Roma on Sunday evening in Turin against 17th place Torino. Roma struggled against a side fighting for survival and for me, it was a disaster of performance from start to finish.
Time after time Roma were pinned back in their own half, the back 3 has become a back 5 in the last month or so. Key players who were brought in on high wages in the summer failed to deliver in this game. Roma gave up 27 shots on goal on Sunday against a team who is fighting for survival in Serie A. That was an astonishing stat to take away from the game on Sunday evening. Torino played like a team in the top 6 and Roma played like a team who were fighting for survival in Serie A.
As it was expected, Roma heavily rotated after the Ajax game and with the Atalanta and Cagliari games coming up in the next 5 days. It’s a heavy and taxing schedule I get that, but these are the types of games you should be winning. The gap to the top 6 now is 4 points and Lazio have played a game less and the UCL through the league is a pipedream now.
It is frustrating because Roma up until 6 weeks ago were in contention and playing some wonderful football and picking up good wins. But since the AC Milan home game, the tide has turned and Roma has hit crisis mode at the worse time of the season just before the break before Easter.
A lot of damage has been done and it’s going to be hard from now and until the end of the season to pick up those extra points and finish in the top 4. But now with the concept of the European Super League things can obviously change for the better of these two sides who play each on Thursday. But that is a story for a different day.
Amadou Diawara will miss the game on Thursday night after being sent off for two yellow cards in the defeat away at Torino on Sunday evening.
PREDICTED LINE UP | AS ROMA (3-4-2-1)
Pau Lopez, Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Villar, Veretout, Califiori, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan, Dzeko.
Atalanta are the visitors to Rome and the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening and are flying high in the Serie A standings. Atalanta are currently third in the Serie A standings with 64 points from 31 games, La Dea are just two points behind AC Milan in second place and looking to topple them in the Serie A standings.
Atalanta run of form in the last 6 games is outstanding, 15 points from 18. 5 wins and 1 loss, the loss was the Monday night game at the San Siro against Inter Milan. What has followed is Atalanta doing Atalanta things under Gian Piero Gasperini. 5 wins in a row against Spezia, Hellas Verona, Udinese, Fiorentina, and the weekend just gone a tight 1-0 win in Bergamo against Juventus.
Gian Piero Gasperini has tinkered with his tactics and his set up recently, Gasperini normal go to is the 3-4-1-2 which has worked so well for Atalanta under his tenure. But for a couple of games, he has tinkered and switched to a 4-3-2-1 with success.
The key player to watch out for in the Atalanta side:
18 goals and 7 assists in 29 league appearances this season, Luis Muriel has been in fantastic form for La Dea this season in Serie A. Luis Muriel averages a goal every 64 minutes in Serie A this season, that is not the crazy stat of his Serie A campaign.
Muriel has only featured for just only 1156 minutes in Serie A this season with 14 starts and 15 appearances from the substitute bench and netted 18 goals. Just unbelievable, Luis Muriel does have previous against Roma this season by scoring in Atalanta come back 4-1 home win before the Christmas Break. The Colombian International has netted 7 goals in his last 11 appearances and will be looking to add to his tally on Thursday evening.
PREDICTED LINE UP |ATALANTA (4-3-2-1)
Gollini, Toloi, Palomino, Romero, Gosens, De Roon, Frueler, Pessina, Malinovski, Muriel, Zapata.
This has the hallmarks to be a cracking game to watch for the neutral on Thursday evening in Rome. Atalanta are doing Atalanta things and will be looking for a 6th win in a row. Roma will be licking the wounds from Sunday evening’s embarrassing defeat against Torino. This is a massive game for Roma if they want to harbour those dreams of UCL football next season.