Roma travel south to face another relegation battler
Roma travel south to the Stadio Via del Mare in Lecce on Saturday, hoping to continue to push for a third place finish and an unlikely spot in next season’s Champions League.
Luis Enrique’s side will head into the game against the relegation battlers full of confidence, having beaten Novara 5-2 last weekend. Despite a few defensive lapses, it was a polished and fairly dominant attacking display and one that should have struggling Lecce worried.
Roma will fancy their chances against a Lecce side that currently lies in 18th position, five points behind safety. They will also be buoyed by Lecce’s recent results, which has seen the southern club score a paltry one goal in their last four games. That lone goal came in a 1-1 draw with Palermo three weeks ago and has since been followed by two dour 0-0 draws against Novara and Cesena, respectively.
Despite Roma’s win against Novara giving the side a much needed confidence boost, they will need to remain wary of a Lecce side who will no doubt sit deep and defend. Roma’s away form this season has been a concern, so they will need to shore up their defensive line in order to take full points in this one.
The good news is that Daniele De Rossi will be moved back to his regular midfield role for the Lecce trip. He struggled aerially against Novara and will welcome a move back to his natural position. Gabriel Heinze returns from suspension and will take his place alongside Simon Kjaer in the backline. Juan and Cassetti remain on the treatment table. Jose Angel’s recent good form should see him continue at left back.
Luis Enrique will once again have to do without Fabio Borini (hamstring), while captain Francesco Totti and midfielder Miralem Pjanic are both in doubt through injury. Totti has a calf strain and trained separate from the rest of the playing group this week, while Pjanic was a late withdrawal against Novara and is unlikely to be risked. Erik Lamela should replace Totti, while Bojan should get another chance to impress in the absence of Borini. He will be partnered up front by Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, who scored his 10th goal of the season last week. In midfield, De Rossi is likely to be partnered by the impressive Marquinho and Fernando Gago.
Where it will be won
Defensively. There is no doubt Roma will have plenty of scoring opportunities against Lecce, but the key for Roma always starts at the back. Provided the side doesn’t give up too many goalscoring chances, its hard to see Lecce scoring enough goals to take all three points here.
Who matters most: Roma
Daniele De Rossi makes a welcome return back into his natural midfield position and will be looking for a big game following an average performance last week. If De Rossi plays well Roma usually plays well: this match isn’t likely to be different.
Who matters most: Lecce
Lecce’s recent misfiring remains a big concern for Serse Cosmi, but in David Di Michele he has a striker who is always a threat. Di Michele has scored 8 goals this season and will be keen to add to his tally.
Possible Roma line-up
Possible Lecce line-up
(4-4-2) Benassi; Oddo, Esposito, Tomovic, Cuadrado; Giacomazzi, Blasi, Bertolacci, Brivio; Muriel, Di Michele
Roma Journal prediction
Despite playing away from home Roma should have too much quality for a Lecce side that has struggled to hit the back of the net in the past month. 3-1 Roma