AS Roma VS Fiorentina, an interesting clash

Submit by Tipster Catherine

Match Time:11/2/2020 01:00 Monday  (GMT+8)

Italian Serie A --  AS Roma   VS   Fiorentina

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Following a breathless 3-3 draw with leaders AC Milan, Roma and Beppe Iachini's Fiorentina sit side by side in the early Serie A table, as they meet at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

While Paulo Fonseca's team have recorded successive draws, the visitors arrive in the capital buoyed by back-to-back wins - in league and cup - during the past week.

 

Match preview

Roma's last league assignment was a six-goal thriller at San Siro last Monday, as the Giallorossi were the first side to avoid defeat against Milan this season.

There was certainly no shortage of incident throughout, with two contentious penalties, a handful of goalkeeping errors and six goals of various quality. Roma perhaps looked the more coherent XI - particularly causing the hosts numerous problems through their intricate attacking combinations.

However, they then went on to record a limp 0-0 draw with CSKA Sofia, who had sacked their manager in the run-up to the game, in the Europa League.

Fonseca had heavily rotated his playing resources against the Bulgarian club, though later stated his stark disappointment at the lack of intensity displayed by the second string players on Thursday night.

Nonetheless, Roma have been resurgent in recent months after their boss came under heavy pressure to quit last season. They have now won nine of their last 13 Serie A games - losing only one - after winning just four of their previous 13 (including eight losses).

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini have yet to trouble the scorers this term, but both have played a significant part in the creative department - the Armenian attacker has set up three goals so far, Pellegrini two. They are likely to enjoy taking on an opposition defence which has conceded at a rate of two goals per game thus far.

In the Coppa Italia in midweek, Fiorentina celebrated a first club goal for one of their own creative talents, Jose Callejon, but Serie C side Padova were only narrowly seen off 2-1. Reserve goalkeeper Emanuele Terracciano was required to make a last-gasp save to prevent the game going to extra time, but the Tuscan side made it through to set up a tie with Udinese in the next round.

That success followed a 3-2 league win over the Friuilans last week, in which Iachini's men just managed to keep the out-of-form visitors at bay until the final whistle.

A three-goal haul again demonstrated that La Viola have had little problem registering on the scoresheet this term, having scored in each of their last eight Serie A matches - their longest such run since December 2017.

Azzurri new-boy Gaetano Castrovilli was on the mark again and has enjoyed a stellar start to the season, with four goals in six games drawing attention from bigger fish in the Serie A ecosystem.

Though the skilful midfielder has described Fiorentina as "a family" and stated his willingness to sign a new contract, the recently-departed Federico Chiesa expressed similar sentiments before being handed the captaincy - within a matter of days he had left for old foes Juventus.

Twenty-three-year-old Castrovilli will reasonably hope to be part of Italy's squad for next summer's Euros and can stake a further claim for a place with another sparkling showing in Rome.

It will be an uphill battle, however, if recent history is anything to go by - Fiorentina have only won two Serie A fixtures games away to Roma this century, in 2012 and 2018.

 

Roma Serie A form: LDWWD

Roma form (all competitions): DWWWDD

Fiorentina Serie A form: WLLDW

Fiorentina form (all competitions): WLLDWW

 

Team News

Centre-back Chris Smalling, whose summer transfer was such a painfully drawn-out process, will likely remain in situ in Roma's back three.

Spanish signings Gonzalo Villar, Borja Mayoral and Carles Perez are set to drop out of Fonseca's lineup, with Jordan Veretout, Pedro and Pellegrini returning.

Amadou Diawara's troubled season continues, as he is yet to be released from quarantine, and Davide Santon is doubtful with a thigh injury, so Rick Karsdorp should deputise.

Fiorentina's Jose Callejon will be boosted by his first goal of the season in midweek, but has understandably looked rusty since spending the off-season without a club. Therefore, the ever-mercurial Franck Ribery is poised to return to the starting XI.

Strikers Christian Kouame and Dusan Vlahovic have claimed just one goal each, but are frequently alternated by Iachini and have had little chance to build momentum.

Veteran midfielder Borja Valero and captain German Pezzella (ankle) miss out through injury.

 

Roma possible starting lineup:

Mirante; Smalling, Mancini, Kumbulla; Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Veretout, Spinazzola; Mkhitaryan, Pedro; Dzeko

Fiorentina possible starting lineup:

Dragowski; Martinez Quarta, Milenkovic, Caceres; Lirola, Bonaventura, Amrabat, Castrovilli, Biraghi; Kouame, Ribery

 

The home side are already under pressure to close the gap on their top-four rivals, particularly with the scudetto race looking so open this year.

Fiorentina, then, can continue their recent run of positive results by stealing a point away from the capital - with Castrovilli, Ribery and fast-improving Callejon set to shine.

 

Pick: Roma 1-1 Fiorentina

 

AS Roma VS Fiorentina, an interesting clash

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