AS Roma will be looking for back-to-back wins on Saturday evening as they take on Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta side in the Italian capital.
Three points were finally sealed last Sunday evening away in Liguria thanks to a late Tammy Abraham penalty. Playing against a ten men Spezia side for almost half of the game, Roma missed chance after chance and could not beat Ivan Provedel in the Spezia goal. Provedel was having a brilliant game in goal and the Italian goalkeeper was pulling wonderful saves to repel the Roma attack.
Finally, AS Roma got some luck in the third minute of added time after Roma were attacking at will on the Spezia goal with thirty plus shots. Nicolo Zaniolo gets kicked in the face which drew blood, Zaniolo was booked for his protests. It went to VAR and the penalty was given. Tammy Abraham stuck the penalty away into the bottom corner. Provedel went the right way. It was a relief after the final whistle, it felt at times it wasn’t going to be Roma day with the chances missed playing against ten men. But Roma got the luck they deserved and came away with three points and put themselves back in line for potentially a top-four or top-five spot in the Serie A standings.
Credit where credit is due, Jose Mourinho got his tactics and his set up spot on. Watching from afar after his dismissal against Hellas Verona. Mourinho will also miss the Saturday game as he will sit on the second of his two-match ban. Taking off Gianluca Mancini for Nicolo Zaniolo worked at halftime, there was no need for Roma to continue with a back three against a side fighting for survival with ten men on the pitch.
PREDICTED XI | ROMA (3-4-1-2)
Rui Patricio, Mancini, Smalling, Kumbulla, Karsdorp, Cristante, Veretout, Vina, Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Abraham.
Atalanta are the visitors to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening. Gian Piero Gasperini‘s side are in fifth position in the Serie A standings with forty-seven points from twenty-six games. Atalanta do have a game in hand against sides around them. Atalanta are three points clear of Roma in sixth and are three points behind Juventus who are in fourth in the Serie A standings and occupy the final UCL spot for next season.
Atalanta start to 2022 in Serie A has been very inconsistent. Just two wins from seven has seen La Dea drop out of the top four and be replaced by Juventus who have miraculously hit form at the right time of the season.
The two wins have bookended each other; Udinese were defeated 6-2 in Udine in Atalanta first game of 2022. The second victory was on Monday night, the final game of week twenty-seven. Sampdoria came to Bergamo and were beaten 4-0.
Atalanta two wins this year in Serie A has seen ten goals scored. In between that, Atalanta went five games without a win. Two 0-0 draws at home to Inter and away at Lazio. The latter was a brilliant result after Atalanta were hit hard with Covid19 cases and injuries. Juventus snatched a dramatic equaliser in Bergamo a day before Valentine’s Day. That was sandwiched in between two defeats at home to Cagliari and an away defeat in Florence to Fiorentina, which saw Atalanta have a controversial goal from Ruslan Malinovskyi ruled out for offside.
In the Europa League it is a different story, Atalanta qualified for the latter stages of the Europa League after defeating the Greek side Olympiacos and will now face German side Bayer Leverkusen in the Round of 16.
PREDICTED XI | ATALANTA (3-4-1-2)
Musso, Djimsiti, Demiral, Palomino, Zappacosta, Koopmeiners, Freuler, Pezzella, Pessina, Pasalic, Boga.