AS Roma vs Brighton & Hove Albion: Preview and Prediction

AS Roma and Brighton & Hove Albion will look to take a step closer to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals when they clash at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

The UEFA Europa League resumes this week with the Round of 16. One of the most eye-catching fixtures of the first knockout stage will have AS Roma hosting Brighton & Hove Albion at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday evening.

AS Roma had to go through the knockout playoffs to reach the Round of 16 after finishing second in Group G behind Slavia Praha. The Giallorossi met Feyenoord in an all-star tie, which ended 2-2 on aggregate before they won 4-2 on penalties.

Meanwhile, Daniele De Rossi has done reasonably well since replacing Jose Mourinho, winning seven of the nine games he has overseen while losing only once. That has helped Roma climb to fifth in the Serie A standings, only four points behind fourth-placed Bologna.

As for Brighton & Hove Albion, they overcome a slow start to the Europa League campaign to finish atop Group B. But the Seagulls have been sub-par in domestic football, winning only three of their ten matches, with two of those victories coming in the FA Cup. So, Roberto De Zerbi and his charges are desperate to find some solace in Europe.

Thursday’s fixture will be the first clash featuring AS Roma and Brighton & Hove Albion. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the first-ever meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

AS Roma

Daniele De Rossi has a new injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday, the AS Roma manager will be bereft of the services of three first-team players.

Rasmus Kristensen is the latest absentee, with the Dane sustaining a hamstring injury this past weekend against AC Monza. Kristensen has joined Rick Karsdorp and Tammy Abraham on the sidelines, with the duo recovering from knee issues.

Kristensen and Karsdorp’s absence means De Rossi has a right-back problem. So, Zeki Celik should take up the berth, joining Gianluca Mancini, Chris Smalling, and Angelino in the backline. The quartet should protect Mile Svilar, who will take his spot between the sticks.

As for the midfield unit, Leandro Paredes will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Bryan Cristante and Lorenzo Pellegrini providing the forward thrust. Finally, Romelu Lukaku will spearhead the AS Roma attack against Brighton & Hove Albion, with Paulo Dybala and Stephan El Shaarawy joining him in the offensive trifecta.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Angelino; Cristante, Paredes, Pellegrini; Dybala, Lukaku, El Shaarawy

Brighton & Hove Albion

Unlike his counterpart in the AS Roma dugout, Roberto De Zerbi does not have a new issue to deal with ahead of the trip to Stadio Olimpico. The Brighton & Hove Albion manager will be without four first-team players on Thursday.

Joao Pedro, the joint-second-highest scorer in the UEFA Europa League this season, is the most notable absentee due to a hamstring issue. The Brazilian international accompanies Jack Hinshelwood (foot), James Milner (thigh), and Kaoru Mitoma (back) in the treatment room.

Brighton & Hove Albion should line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation against AS Roma, with Bart Verbruggen taking his spot between the sticks. Meanwhile, the backline should consist of Tariq Lamptey, Jan Paul van Hecke, Lewis Dunk, and Pervis Estupinan.

As for the midfield unit, Pascal Gross should pair up with Carlos Baleba in the double pivot. While the latter will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, the former will provide the creative impetus. Finally, the offensive quartet should feature Danny Welbeck as the central striker, with Julio Enciso, Simon Adingra, and Facundo Buonanotte playing the supporting cast.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Verbruggen; Lamptey, van Hecke, Dunk, Estupinan; Gross, Baleba; Adingra, Enciso, Buonanotte; Welbeck

Key Stats

  • Thursday’s match will be Brighton & Hove Albion’s first meeting with an Italian club in European competition. Premier League clubs have progressed from seven of their nine knockout ties against Italian clubs in the UEFA Europa League, including their last five in a row.
  • AS Roma have only lost one of their last 23 home games in the Europa League (W17 D5), a 2-1 defeat to Real Betis in the 2022/23 group stage. Since then, they have won eight out of nine home games in the competition (D1).
  • Brighton & Hove Albion’s first-ever season in European competition has seen them reach the knockout rounds. They are the first English club to make their knockout round debut in any major UEFA competition (excluding pre-group rounds) since Bolton Wanderers in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup.
  • AS Roma are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions, clinching three wins and scoring at least three goals in three outings during that period. They had a perfect record at home in the group stage, scoring nine goals without reply.
  • Diego Llorente has never ended on the winning side in four appearances against Brighton & Hove Albion when playing for his parent club, Leeds United, in the Premier League (D2 L2).

Player to Watch

Paulo Dybala

Embed from Getty Images

An injury threatened to derail Dybala’s campaign, especially with AS Roma struggling with instability amid the then-speculation surrounding Jose Mourinho. But the Argentine international has been excellent under the tutelage of Daniele De Rossi, who has brought the best out of him.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner has scored seven goals and provided one assist in his last five Serie A games, including his first hat-trick in five years. So, it is hardly surprising that several high-profile clubs are keen on signing him this summer. But he remains focused on the job at hand and will be the go-to man for De Rossi in the coming months, including the Europa League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion.


AS Roma 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

One of the most eye-catching ties in the UEFA Europa League should give us two engrossing clashes. In particular, Brighton & Hove Albion’s erratic form means they can either take the game to AS Roma or be pushovers in the first leg. But they have been excellent in Europe, and the former scenario should be on the cards.

But Paulo Dybala’s sensational form and AS Roma’s perfect record at home in this season’s UEFA Europa League means the home side should eke out a victory on Thursday, especially with Daniele De Rossi enjoying the “new manager bounce”. Expect Brighton to run Roma close before the hosts clinch a 2-1 victory.

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