The second weekend of Serie A is here, Roma travel to Salerno to take on the newly-promoted Salernitana side hoping for back-to-back Serie A wins under Jose Mourinho.
On Thursday evening in the Italian Capital, Roma defeated Trabzonspor 3-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate to advance to the group stages of the Europa Conference League. That was a fantastic performance, goals from Bryan Cristante, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Stephan El Shaarawy gave Roma the win to advance to the group stage where they were drawn against CSKA Sofia, Zorya Luhansk, and Bodo/Glimt. A lot of travelling to Bulgaria, Norway, and Ukraine during the early stages of a Serie A season.
A really impressive performance by Roma and by goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who in pre-season struggled with form and made a few errors. But on Sunday and again on Thursday he put in another stellar performance. I hope his early performances in goal have silenced the critics in pre-season. That save to deny Victor Hugo was outstanding and Tammy Abraham‘s reaction to the save was priceless.
Nicolo Zaniolo will miss the game on Sunday after picking up a red card in the 3-1 home win over Fiorentina last Sunday. It was a relief to see Zaniolo play well after the sending-off on Sunday and score on his return after a long lay-off with the knee injury.
PREDICTED LINEUP | ROMA (4-2-3-1)
Rui Patricio, Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibanez, Vina, Veretout, Cristante, Carles Perez, Pellergrini, Mkhitaryan, Abraham.
US Salernitana 1919 will be playing their first Serie A home game since May 15th, 1999, that was a 2-1 home win over Vicenza. Sadly, Salernitana were relegated in the 1998/99 season by 1 point, finishing 15th in the Serie A standings. Remember back in the glory days of Italian Football, it was an 18-team division. Perugia finished in 14th and survived by just the solitary point. Sampdoria, Empoli, and Vicenza were also relegated that season.
Fast forward 22 years and US Salernitana 1919 are back in the topflight fighting it out at the big table once again, finished 2nd in Serie B last season behind Serie B champions Empoli. In early July the FIGC Federal Council approved the Salerntitana trust to take control of the club and was enrolled in Serie A for the first time since 1998. Claudio Lotito and his brother-in-law Marco Mezzaroma took over the club in 2011, but Lotito is the owner of Lazio, and an owner cannot own two clubs in the topflight. So, a solution was drawn for the Salernitana trust to take control and that was confirmed.
The opening game of the season was an absolute belter, 5 goals, 3 red cards, and sadly a defeat for Fabrizio Castori‘s side in their first game back in the topflight in 22 years. Bologna with 9 men edged out Salernitana 3-2.
Fabrizio Castori is in his third stint as Salernitana head coach, he previously coached in the 2008/09 season. He was sacked in December 2008, brought back in January 2009 but then was sacked again in April 2009. In August 2020, he came back and guided the club back into Serie A, finishing second in Serie B.
PREDICTED LINEUP | SALERNITANA (3-5-2)
Belec, Bogdan, Gyomber, Jaroszynski, Kechirda, Couilbaly, Di Tacchio, Obi, Ruggeri, Bonazzoli, Simy.
This will be an interesting game for Roma against a newly promoted side who are looking for their first points of the season after impressing in defeat away at Bologna. On the other hand, Jose Mourinho‘s side will be looking for back-to-back wins in Serie A and for four wins in a row to start the season.