Champions League-chasing AS Roma take on an in-form Monza side, who secured their safety after the latest round of games.

It is not very often that a newly-promoted team performs so admirably. Monza, who face AS Roma next, were one of the favourites to drop to Serie B at the start of the season, but they have turned their season around in impressive style. Raffaele Palladino’s men have secured their safety with five games to go in the league.

They have done it in some style following three successive wins. After victories over Inter Milan and Fiorentina, Monza secured a comfortable set of points beating Spezia. Goals from Patrick Ciurria and Carlos Augusto set them apart, as they now sit 10th on the table.

Monza will continue playing their best football for the remaining five games, hoping to finish higher than their current standing. However, they have achieved their objective with five games remaining, now setting them free of pressure for the remaining clashes.

While Monza were relieved of the pressure, the task is still very much incomplete for Jose Mourinho at Roma. The Giallorossi may have slipped down the standings following recent results, but they remain firmly in contention for a top-four place.

Their loss to Atalanta two games ago hurt their momentum and chance to go somewhat clear. But last weekend’s draw against Milan may have come as a bitter blow to their chances. Against the Rossoneri, Tammy Abraham felt he scored a dramatic 94th-minute winner. But Alexis Saelemaekers scored the equaliser three minutes later.

From Mourinho’s perspective, it was a disappointing end to the game, but he will look to rally his troops for what’s ahead. There’s added pressure of the Europa League semifinals for Roma; they will also have games against Monza and Inter Milan in the run-in. The manager will seek to improve their recent away record and get things over the line, starting with Monza.

Team News & Tactics

AC Monza

Marco D’Alessandro remains the only significant doubt for Monza ahead of the Roma clash, and Palladino will certainly assess his situation late on. The manager might look to keep the same lineup that beat Spezia the last time around and retains momentum.

Armando Izzo, Pablo Mari and Luca Caldirola will assume their places in the back three ahead of keeper Michele Gregorio. So far, the defensive setup under Palladino has proved fruitful, and he will not look to tweak that system for now.

Nicolo Rovella and Matteo Pessina will keep their midfield spots intact and support the attacking setup ahead. Patrick Ciurria and Carlos Agusto will provide width from their wing-back roles.

Andrea Colpani will play the withdrawn role ahead of the midfielders and will have the support of Gianluca Caprari in a similar area. Dany Mota will continue to lead the line for Monza, hoping to trouble the Roma defence.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1):ย Gregorio; Izzo, Mari, Caldirola; Ciurria, Rovella, Pessina, Augusto; Colpani, Caprari; Mota

AS Roma

Unlike his counterpart in the Monza dugout, Jose Mourinho has plenty of injury-related absences to contend with. Roma lost key defender Marash Kumbala to an ACL injury against Milan, while Andrea Belotti suffered cracked ribs in that entertaining draw. On the sidelines, the duo will join Chris Smalling, Georginio Wijnaldum, Diego Llorente, and Rick Karsdorp.

The absence of three central defenders could force Mourinho to use one of Edoardo Bove or Nemanja Matic in the back three, as he looks unlikely to change the defensive system. Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez will complete the central defensive set-up ahead of Rui Patricio in goal.

Mady Camara could play a midfield role alongside Bryan Cristante, with Matic likely to play in defence. Zeki Celik and Leonardo Spinazzola will keep their wing-back roles for this clash and provide the width for the attackers.

Lorenzo Pellegrini will play behind the front two and provide the creativity to trouble the Monza defence. Paulo Dybala, who scored a brace against this opposition in the reverse fixture, will continue to partner with Abraham up front.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2):ย Patricio; Mancini, Matic, Ibanez; Celik, Cristante, Camara, Spinazzola; Pellegrini; Dybala, Abraham

Key Stats

  • With 44 points on board, Monza have secured their safety in Serie A.
  • Monza have won their last three games in Serie A.
  • Roma won the reverse fixture 3-0.
  • Roma have lost six of their last nine away games in all competitions.
  • Roma have won three of their last six Serie A games.

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

The Argentine international has been the media’s focus for the past week after his sensational release clauses were revealed. Those numbers certainly add a question mark to his future at Roma amid links with top clubs. But Dybala will remain focused on the task.

The season is far from over from a Roma perspective, with a top-four finish and winning the Europa League certainly high on their agenda. Jose Mourinho would need Dybala at his best for this run-in and will hope the Argentine hits top gear in these crucial encounters starting with Monza.


AC Monza 1-2 AS Roma

Monza might come into this clash as the team with superior form and momentum. But they will also not feel the pressure. Roma have been performing well in recent weeks, but the final results have gone in the opposite direction.

Roma desperately need results to stay relevant in the top-four race, and Jose Mourinho will ensure that happens against Monza. The home side will have their minds relaxed, which may see them down their intensity and allow Roma to get into the game and secure a victory.

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