The two erstwhile title contenders lock heads at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday with three points up for grabs in Serie A matchday 7. Only a point separates the two teams who sit 4th and 3rd respectively in the table
Roma have accumulated 10 points from a possible 18 points whereas Inter have accumulated 11 points despite both team’s shaky start to the season. It is still early days in the season, but 3 points will be crucial for both teams Champions League ambitions next season.
Team News and Tactics
Roma have lost just one home game this season, which was a three goal demolition at the hands of Porto which ushered their inglorious exit from the Champions League. While their away form is stuttering, they have a 100% home record this season at the Olimpico.
The midfield battle will be most interesting. It remains to be seen whether Luciano Spaletti plays the more defensive Daniel De Rossi alongside Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan in the midfield or decides to stick with the young Argentine Leandro Paredes who is a deep lying playmaker. Spalletti is likely to exercise the first option since the Gialorossi defense is a makeshift one.
The Roma defence is plagued by long term injuries to Thomas Vermaelen, Antonio Rudiger and Mario Rui. Federico Fazio will partner Kostas Manolas in defense. In the flanks Spaletti is forced to play out of position players Alessandro Florenzi and Bruno Peres will play right and left back respectively since Mario Rui is yet to be back.
Probable Formation (4-2-3-1) Szczesny; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Peres; De Rossi, Strootman; Salah, Nainggolan, Perotti; Dzeko
Frank De Boer’s team continue to take one step forward and two steps back this season. Whereas Roma dismantled their midweek Europa League opponents 4-0, Inter succumbed to a 3-1 loss to Sparta Prague their second consecutive loss in Europa League. The victory against Juventus now seems like a distant triumph as they were held by Bologna at San Siro.
Roma are likely to target the Inter fullbacks as Roma’s strength lies on the flanks with Florenzi and Bruno Peres compounding the threat that Mo Salah and Diego Perotti already poses. Inter’s vulnerability on the defensive side of the flanks is well known.
Inter on the other hand are also over reliant on their attacking flanks supplying the ball to talisman and captain Mauro Icardi. Inter have scored only 8 goals this season with Icardi getting 6 of them. Geoffrey Kondogbia is likely to be benched after his disastrous outing last time around and the mantle will once upon fall on Joao Mario and Ever Banega to create something for Icardi.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Ranocchia, Santon; Medel, Banega, Joao Mario; Candreva, Perisic, Icardi
- Inter has scored the lowest number of goals (8) among the first 5 teams in the league table.
- Roma, on the other hand, have scored the most number of goals (14) in the league alongside Napoli.
- Roma have won 2 and lost 2 in the last 6 previous meetings in Serie A against Inter.
- The last time Roma lost a home game to Inter was in 2011 in a Coppa Italia tie.
- The last time Roma lost a home game to Inter in Serie A was in 2009 when the home side were demolished 0-4 by Mancini’s Inter.
Players to watch out for
Mo Salah (Roma)
Mohammed Salah is devastating when he’s on form. But the Egyptian is prone to bouts of inconsistencies and is notorious for missing sitters in crucial matches. Salah has scored against Inter on a previous occasion during his time at Fiorentina.
Mauro Icardi (Inter)
Needless to say, but De Boer’s strategy would be to attack the depleted Roman back-line with arguably one of the best strikers in Serie A that he has at his disposal. Icardi is leading the capocannonieri race this season, a prestige that he has won previously two seasons back. He would be the man to watch out for in this match.
Roma 2-0 Inter
Roma fans should fully expect Luciano Spaletti to pull a rabbit out of the hat in this match, as his opposite number De Boer had done against Juventus to everyone’s surprise. The Italian tactician is one of the senior most managers around in Italy and one of the most experienced.
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