The January international break for South American and Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers has been and gone. Top leagues across Europe return to club action. AS Roma kick off the latest round of Serie A action on Saturday afternoon looking for a third win in a row in Serie A against second-bottom Genoa.
Roma have won two in a row in Serie A and three in all competitions to end January 2022 on a high. The Cagliari hard-fought win was followed by a 4-2 win away in Tuscany against Empoli in the last round of Serie A action before the latest international break.
It was a tale of two halves, Roma came out of the blocks in the first half and blew Empoli away racing into a 4-0 goal lead at halftime. The second half was completely a different story, Empoli fought back and made the game a lot more interesting as it should from a Roma fan perspective.
The intensity dropped in the second half and Empoli capitalised on it. You could see on the touchline that Jose Mourinho was getting increasingly animated as the game went on. Overall, it was a very good win against one of the better sides who got promoted from Serie B last season. But my only caveat and worry of the performance was that old habits were creeping in in the second-half performance.
PREDICTED XI | ROMA (3-5-2)
Rui Patricio, Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez, Kardsorp, Cristante, Oliveria, Mkhitaryan, Vina, Zaniolo, Abraham.
Genoa are the visitors to the Italian capital on Saturday afternoon. They have had a horrible season to date sitting second-bottom in 19th place in the Serie A standings after twenty-three games with just thirteen points. Five points behind fourth-bottom Venezia who are above the relegated zone. They sit three points clear of Salernitana who rock are bottom in Serie A but have won more games than Genoa this season. Genoa have won one and Salernitana three. Genoa are four points behind third-bottom Cagliari.
We are only in February and Genoa are on their third permanent coach of the season and fourth overall. Davide Ballardini, Andriy Shevchenko, Abdoulay Konko (temporary), and now Alexander Blessin who arrived in January 2022 after a successful time in Belgium with Belgian side KV Oostende. Blessin has a tough job to get Genoa out of the relegation zone and to Serie A safety.
In the league, it has been a sorry time for Genoa, just one victory all season in Serie A and that came on the third matchday of the season, a 3-2 away win in Sardinia against fellow Serie A strugglers Cagliari. The recent run of form is not pretty, three defeats and three draws in the last six games which do include that 6-0 humbling away in Florence against Vicenzo Italiano resurgent Fiorentina side.
PREDICTED XI | GENOA (4-3-3)
Sirigu, Hefti, Bani, Vanheusden, Vasquez, Badelj, Melegoni, Portanova, Yeboah, Destro, Piccoli.