The International break is over and Serie A football returns after a two-week hiatus on Easter Saturday. Roma travel to the Mapei Stadium.
In the last Serie A game, Roma was humbled in the Stadio Olimpico by Napoli 2-0 thanks to two first-half goals from Dries Mertens. Napoli inflected the double over their southern rivals 6-0 and have the inferior h2h going into the final stretch of the season.
It was an embarrassing abject performance from Roma, this coming just days earlier by winning in Ukraine and qualifying for the last 8 of the Europa League. Roma gave Napoli too much respect and gave the Napoli creators in midfield and attack too much space on the ball and they punished Roma with so much ease.
Only in the second half, Roma reacted but the damage was already done. Two defeats in a week in the league and the season is starting to spiral out of control at the business end of the season. Even worse news to come out of the international break was that Albanian central defender Marash Kumbulla picked up a knee injury and it was feared that he would miss the rest of the season. But reports have now confirmed that he will miss 3-4 weeks.
Both Gonzalo Villar and Roger Ibanez will miss the Saturday trip to the Mapei Stadium after picking up 5 yellow cards this season in Serie A.
PREDICTED LINE UP | AS ROMA (3-4-2-1)
Pau Lopez, Mancini, Fazio, Cristante, Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Diawara, Bruno Peres, Pedro, El Shaarawy, Dzeko.
Sassuolo are currently in 8th position in the Serie A standings with 39 points from 27 games. After a bright and exciting start to the season, Sassuolo’s form in the first half of 2021 has dipped. Just 3 wins out of 13 has seen Sassuolo drop from 4th to as low as 9th in the Serie A Standings. This weekend’s game against AS Roma will be Sassuolo’s first Serie A game since the 17th of March which was a rescheduled game against Torino. The Saturday night fixture before the international break against Inter Milan was called off due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the Inter Milan squad. That game will be re-arranged for the 07th April.
In the last 6 games, Sassuolo form has been very inconsistent. With 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 defeats. The two wins were against Crotone (A) 2-1 on Valentine’s day and a home win over Hellas Verona 3-2 on the 13th March. The two draws were back-to-back home draws against Napoli 3-3 and Bologna 1-1. The two defeats were a 2-0 away defeat at Udinese and a 3-2 defeat away at Torino in the rescheduled fixture.
The international break has been tough for Roberto De Zerbi‘s side, he will be missing two key attackers in Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo who both picked up injuries while on international duty with Italy. Turkish defender Kaan Ayhan tested positive for Covid19 and will miss the game on Saturday. Manuel Locatelli who featured in all of three Italy World Cup 2022 qualifiers may not be risked for this game due to fatigue.
Roberto De Zerbi likes to play an attacking brand of football, he sets his Sassuolo side up in a 4-2-3-1 and likes all his players to be comfortable on the ball. They are entertaining to watch going forward and do like to concede goals. This Saturday’s game will be De Zerbi 104 Serie A game in charge of Sassuolo. 133 points picked up from 103 games with a point per game record of 1.33. The telling stat is that 167 goals scored, and 167 goals conceded in his reign as Sassuolo coach.
PREDICTED LINE UP | SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1)
Consigli, Toljan, Marlon, Chiriches, Rogerio, Magnanelli, Obiang, Oddei, Maxime Lopez, Djuricic, Raspadori.
This is a must-win game for Roma, going into the busy schedule of April. The back-to-back losses against Parma and Napoli have hindered their chance for a top 4 place. Roma away form this season in Serie A has not been great they have the 10th best away form while Sassuolo has the 13th best home record this season.
This will be an entertaining game on Saturday afternoon, both teams like to play a good attacking brand of football. Both teams are going through a lean patch in Serie A and are desperate to stop the rot and get back on winning terms.